How police corruption remains a tainted reminder of police brutality in the US.

Essay by Marlene5972University, Bachelor'sB+, December 2003

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Police officers-(the blue knights) entrusted and empowered to enforce the law-can become some of the most aggressive criminals themselves. Learning how much corruption there is and understanding its characteristics are both basic yet crucial steps toward successful corruption control. Accurate information is necessary to diagnose the extent and nature of the corruption problem, trace the changes in its volume and patterns over time, determine the causes of corrupt behavior, learn about the susceptibility of various types of corrupt behavior to successful control, choose the required degree of interference, design adequate control strategies and mechanisms, estimate the resources necessary, determine the success of the techniques used, and monitor agency performance in corruption control over time.

Despite its apparent significance and the vast resources invested in the police, the measurement of police corruption-or, for that matter, any other type of corruption-is surprisingly underdeveloped: Unlike for most other crimes, there is no official data on the corruption rate.

How much corruption is there? Is the rate rising or falling? Is there more corruption now than in previous decades? Is there more corruption in one city than another, in one government department than another? Has corruption decreased after passage of a law, announcement of an investigation or arrests, or implementation of managerial reforms? Corruption cannot be estimated by examining the Uniform Crime Reports or the National Crime Victimization Survey. Thus, it cannot be determined whether any particular anticorruption strategy or spate of strategies is working. We are data deprived (Hickman, 499).

Behavior typically understood as corruption is classified as bribery and extortion, but, depending on the legal system, it may also be classified as theft, fraud, tax evasion, or racketeering. Some countries "may not even define some of the acts (e.g., bribery) as criminal at all. Similarly, what corrupt behavior is prohibited...