Research Paper Example on Police Corruption

Published: 2021-08-02
1462 words
6 pages
13 min to read
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Adhering to ethics, values, and morality is every persons concern in the society. For that matter, most people consider corruption to be a moral and ethical decay that waffles into the desired behavior among people in the nation. However, as much as people condemn corruption, they fail to resist it only if it renders positive results upon them. Police corruption has been ranked as the most committed crime in the United States, and many people end up hating the police and law enforcement agencies. Little do people know that corruption is like a coin which has two faces, the people who benefit by receiving the favor obtained by corrupting the police and the people who fail to win the justice they need by alteration of the justice process (Punch, n.p). Since corruption is the most rampant crime in the United States and other nations in the world, this article seeks to analyze the history of police corruption, the theories connected to it and the commissions created to eradicated police corruption.

History of Police Corruption

In 1896, US police offers were reported to engage in an organized corruption scandal that involved opening brothels and illegal gambling centers. It is so devastating to note that the corrupt police officers charged those who opened brothels $300 to $500 and later they collected $50-$100 as a monthly fee (Armstrong, 12). On the other hand, Knapp Commission outlined police corruption practices in 1972 that involved receiving bribes from a group of people who were transacting illegal gambling and prostitution. Also, Mollen Commission revealed evidence of police misconduct in trafficking and falsifying records of traffickers and drug dealers. In the recent cases, major drugs cartels like the Medellin cartel that emerged and survived for over 12 years was found to have political influence and police corruption. Regarding Mallorys (n.p) article, the existence of Ochoa brothers, Jose Gacha and Pablo Escobar are the godfathers who have survived under the political influence for over the years since they are untouchable by the police for being among the beneficiaries of the cartels.

On June 20, 2016, three N.Y.P.D. commanders were arrested for vast corruption charges upon them. In a video which featured the Attorney explaining the charges upon the three commanders outlined that the corruption charges upon the three senior police officers were ranked as the most reprimanding aspect of the conduct of law enforcement department. It was also rated as the major ever happened federal corruption since it involved over $100,000 from the two politically connected business crime offenders (Armstrong, 12).

Why do many incidents of corruption involve police officers? According to rotten apple theory, many recruits in law enforcement departments usually apply for police service before plans of becoming corrupt or alluding with organized crime group for personal gain. It is so unfortunate to note that at no point will police corruption end while recruitment process continues absorbs officers who already have made plans for the propensity of corruption. Moreover, rotten apple theory suggests that poor supervision, training, and indiscriminative hiring is the cause of erosion of personal values, principles, and standards which leads to the widespread crisis of police corruption.

Commissions to Eradicate Police Corruption

Closed Lab Investigation Theory

Regarding the aspects of social structure theory that the society is to blame since during recruitment exercise, the police seek the profession with utmost good faith and top-most expectations to carry their duties and obligation according to the law enforcement standards and according to the public good. Since the social systems tempt the police even after passing through a sustained training period, closed lab investigative theory analyzes the effectiveness of police departments by carrying out a fact-finding program termed as closed lab which is conducted by at least nine investigative groups which inquire into the efficacy of an investigative plan.

The purpose of the closed lab investigation approach is to eradicate the influence that social structures cause to polices mind to the point of challenging their critical thinking and sound judgment. According to social theory, the cops are swayed by both the innocent people in the society who compel the police for particular attention to be granted upon them and the also the criminals who blackmail the police with a massive amount of money that at some point is higher than the salary that the police receive. Therefore, closed lab investigation commission speculates into an investigated case to check if aspects of corruption might be seen in a sham investigation.

Commission to Combat Police Corruption

CCPC is an independent commission in New York which was created by the New York government department to curb the police corruption incidents that had spread out in New York. The Commission is independent, and its officials were appointed by the mayor of the City to ensure that it carried out its activities without bias or favor (Prenzler, n.p). CCPC was created to examine the allegations of police corruption and to implement relevant policies to deter police corruption and corruption among US citizens. Also, it was to solve the problems which are caused by the aspect of some States laws prohibiting and regulate many activities that some people in the society consider to morally wrong while others take the element of restrictions and strict rules on the aspects to a denial of their rights.

Corruption sets its pace because some cops support the controversies regarding moral aspects of what is right and wrong. For instance, gambling, prostitution, smoking marijuana and alcohol abuse creates confusion among police officers hence the commission was established to examine samples of the investigations done by Internal Affairs Bureau that involved all cases under uniformed members who were protected by their departments. According to Dean, Geoff, Bell, and Lauchs (205), the State is sometimes guided by conflict of cultures that make the police to be the immediate targets of corruption. The corruption and malpractices committed by police made it necessary for the creation of CCPC to inspect the conduct of the members of New York City Department who are reported to loosen their vigilance on bribery. Taking the example of some States in America legalizing marijuana while others are sticking to their standards, the police will, therefore, be convinced by most people in the society to accept bribes to let smoking of marijuana to continue.

Mollen Commission

In every aspect, people usually learn from their seniors the way a child learns from people who are socially ahead of them. Since structural theory argues that police corruption is resulted by junior police viewing actions of their seniors in the police departments who end up unpunished, yet they engage in most organized corruption scandals, Mollen Commission was created in 1992 to counter-attack the prevalence of police corruption that is covered by the veterans in the departments. Superiors and police veterans are to blame for setting a bad example to the new police officers in the law enforcement agencies who in their early professional life need to be carried through a well-structured mentorship plan to enable them to become useful servants of the people. Prenzler (n.p) outlines that the straying behavior that surrounds law enforcement offices is what constitutes the occurrences of police corruption. Since the whole police system cannot be engulfed to be a corruption zone, Mollen Commission was made to carry an investigation into the nature of fraud in police departments. Also, the commission has the responsibility of examining the investigation methods on corruption cases that the units use to recommend procedures for improving the techniques, but their primary aim is to investigate the conduct of the police.


The law enforcement agencies, anti-corruption commissions, and the general public should join hands to help in eradicating the widespread corruption cases that involve law enforcement agencies. The agencies should, therefore, enact strict guidelines that should be followed by relevant training that incorporates learning about moral and valuable aspects of morality and ethics. A rotten-apple theory is realistic in the manner that it suggests that lack of enough training leads to improper police behavior which later gets worse when the police are not well supervised hence it should be applied in the actions of the stakeholders in both the commission and various police departments. Police should, therefore, be informed that policing is a reliable service that needs to consider the relevance of maintaining good morals, corruption free attitude and serving people with maximum conformity to the aspect of equality and fairness.

Works Cited

Armstrong, Michael F. They wished they were honest: The Knapp Commission and New York City police corruption. Columbia University Press, 2012: 12-13

Dean, Geoff, Peter Bell, and Mark Lauchs. "Conceptual framework for managing knowledge of police deviance." Policing & Society 20.2 (2010): 204-222.

Mallory, Stephen L. Understanding organized crime. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011.

Punch, Maurice. Police corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Routledge, 2009.

Prenzler, Tim. Police corruption: Preventing misconduct and maintaining integrity. CRC Press, 2009.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: