Police Corruption Essay

885 WordsFeb 4, 20134 Pages
POlice corruption One night, there was a fifty-three-year old African-American grandmother of a suspected murderer, sitting in her house knitting. Two police officers knock on her door to ask about her grandson. She lets them in to tell her what she knows, like any law-abiding citizen. Ten minutes later she is being led out to the police car in handcuffs. She was arrested for possession of controlled substances. Three years later when she is being released because it has been discovered that the officers that knocked on her door planted the drugs in her home. When asked why this woman was a target, the officers replied that they were trying to get to her son. This happened to fifty-three-year old Betty Patterson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was released in 1994. Corruption has taken many forms and has continued to plague the police departments of nearly every major city. Police corruption may change form over time, but its roots are firmly planted in American history. The police force is suppose to uphold justice and hold down crime. But police officers routinely have to work with things that have turned good cops in bad ones The kind of corruption committed can change to reflect the area of opportunity. From extorting pickpockets to engaging in drug trafficking, opportunities exist to benefit one’s self. The opportunities for corruption are greatest when there is a large degree of discretionary authority given to a police officer. Despite legal safeguards and well-intentioned reforms, police problems have continued to produce headlines. The exact scope of misconduct is unknown. Far more complaints are filed than ever are evaluated at a trial. As the National Institute of Justice acknowledged in its May 2000 report, The Measurement of Police Integrity, most corruption incidents go unreported, and data that do exist "are best regarded

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