Police Corruption In Major Cities

Essay by djm March 2004

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Police corruption is a complex issue. Police corruption or the abuse of authority by a police officer, acting officially to fulfill personal needs or wants, is a growing problem in the United States today. Things such as an Internal Affairs department, a strong leadership organization, and community support are just a few considerations in the prevention of police corruption. An examination of a local newspaper or any police-related publication in an urban city during any given week would most likely have an article about a police officer that got caught committing some kind of corrupt act. Police corruption has increased dramatically with the illegal cocaine trade, with officers acting alone or in-groups to steal money from dealers or distribute cocaine themselves. Large groups of corrupt police have been caught in New York, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, as well as many other cities. Corruption within police departments falls into 2 basic categories, external corruption and internal corruption.

In this research project, I will concentrate on external corruption. Recently, external corruption has been given the larger center of attention. I have decided to include the fairly recent accounts of corruption from a few major cities, mainly New York, because that is where I have lived in the past year. I compiled my information from a number of articles written in the New York Times over the last few years. My definitional information and background data came from books that have been written on the issues of police corruption. Those books helped me create a basis of just what the different types of corruption, as well as how and why corruption happens. Corruption in policing is usually viewed as the mistreatment of authority by police officer acting officially to fulfill personal needs or wants. For a corrupt act to occur,