Police Corruption And The Knapp Commission

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Police Corruption and the Knapp Commission Adam Bill.. CRIM 305 April 13, 2009 As long as there has been a professional Police force in the United States there have been corrupt Cops. The form of corruption in early America usually took the form of bribes and brutality, not all that far from the form of corruption these days. Police corruption is defined as the abuse of police authority for personal or organizational gain[1]. This comes in many shapes and sizes, from major drug trafficking and money laundering to looking the other way on minor everyday violations of the law. Historical cases of corruption have lead to a widespread view that all police are corrupt. One study reported that by officers’ own accounts, 39 percent…show more content…
Back then a “patrolman” was appointed by a ward politician, and was expected to maintain the interests of that politician. Those interests were usually selling of alcohol, which was illegal then, and also the protection of prostitution rackets. Through the years there were many attempts at reform, most famously by first Police Commissioner and later US President, Theodore Roosevelt. However the damage was done, and due to the large size of the NYPD and the accessibility of vice, the NYPD was caught in a circle of corruption that started at the cop walking his beat to the mayor’s office. Due in part to the Vietnam War heroin started finding its way to the streets in the 60’s and 70’s. The increase of the drug trade on the streets created new opportunities corruption by the police. Officers were collecting protection money from criminals to ensure that the illegal drug trade would not be compromised. While not all of the officers in the NYPD took bribes the pressure to keep quiet and not speak out against fellow officers prevented the discovery of the corruption for a long time. Until patrolman Frank Serpico and Sergeant David Durk went to the New York Times and got David Burnham to report about the corrupt activities. With the story made public Mayor Lindsay was forced to create a five-member panel to investigate the corruption. The name “Knapp Commission” came from the head…show more content…
The articles all said many had received indictments. The Knapp Commission did a very important job exposing a systematic level of police corruption that is nearly unimaginable. The Knapp Commission was also responsible for many changes that would hopefully prevent further corruption with the placement of self checks and a higher level of responsibility. Yet only twenty years later, when cocaine hit the streets, there would be another investigation into the NYPD, the Mollen Commission. I would assume that many of the old guard in the NYPD that didn’t get caught in the Knapp Commission passed along corrupt ways to newer officers. The big difference between the two commissions was how pervasive the level off corruption was and the sort of illegal activities carried out by police. The Mollen Commission found that while the corruption was not systematic the corrupt cops were active criminals themselves, selling drugs, robbing drug dealers, and operating burglary

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