The ethics of police corruption

Essay by 69billybobCollege, Undergraduate April 2006

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Law Enforcement Ethics

Police corruption is a serious issue that needs to be recognized by police officers. In this article, the author explains the continuum of compromise. It shows how an honest cop can turn into a compromised officer. It is important to study and understand how this transition can occur so it can be prevented in the future.

Even the most honest police officers are vulnerable to making inappropriate choices as they are constantly faced with split-second ethical decisions. Cops become corrupt in many ways including, acts of omission, acts of commission-administrative, and acts of commission-criminal. An act of omission is when officers rationalize and justify not doing things they are responsible for doing. These acts can be ignoring traffic violations or certain criminal violations. When officers feel like their doing a "good thing" they feel quite justified in their actions. Acts of commission-administrative is when officers commit administrative violations.

Theses acts range from drinking on duty to engaging in prohibited pursuits. In many ways, police justify themselves by thinking they are just breaking small rules that get in the way of "real police work". This can damage community relations because it tarnishes the image of a police officer. Finally acts of commission-administrative occur when cops commit crimes like steeling seized assets. Police create a misconception that it's ok to do things if they are only hurting criminals.

As you can see, police corruption is a problem that can be seen in any community, not just the big cities. If we study these topics of ethics and integrity, law enforcement organizations can regain lost trust. It's imperative that police have good reputations with the community.