This characterization of police deviance fosters the belief that incidents of police misconduct are isolated events initiated by a small minority of deviant officers, and that evidence of police corruption, when brought to light, should not be viewed as evidence of organizational or systemic dysfunction. These deviant officers are often viewed as having serious character and personality flaws.
This is a revision of a graduate seminar paper. Abstract Police deviance rotten apple or the growth of professionalization in American policing, corruption and misconduct in law enforcement continue to remain concerning issues in communities across the nation.
Citizens depend on law enforcement to serve and protect in an ethical and lawful manner, and this trust can easily be diminished when even a few officers use their positions of authority to cause harm or violate civil rights.
Theories on police corruption generally fall under individual explanations, ecological theories, and organizational theories.
Determining which theories and factors can best explain police deviance can assist in findings ways to address and prevent it altogether. Although police deviance is difficult to track, researchers have used various indicators of misconduct to determine which factors may prevent or inhibit deviance.
Pre-employment screening, training, and proper supervision are some of the key factors that relate to the prevalence of misconduct and corruption. This paper will attempt to explain these findings and provide the implications for policy changes that police administrators can use to address the problem of police misconduct.
Acts of corruption and misconduct are terms that fall under the umbrella of police deviance in general.
In order for corruption to occur, there must be some personal gain for a police officer or group of officers to engage in the abuse of authority. Lawrence Shermanp.
Misconduct could additionally include acts of excessive force, civil rights violations, racial discrimination, and criminal activity. Police deviance also ranges in severity from receiving gratuities in exchange for favors to committing murder. The costs of corruption and misconduct are difficult to measure, but they include the financial losses associated with any litigation that results from those actions, the financial and emotional tolls on victims, and the overall trust of the public for officers to carry out their duties with integrity.
Some acts of corruption may never be seen and are therefore never addressed by police departments or the public, while at the same time some may exaggerate the level of corruption that occurs.
The Nature of Corruption The causes of misconduct and corruption have been attributed to various sources, including individual, ecological, and organizational factors King,p.
Many theories, including traditional criminological theories, have been applied to police misconduct as well. Walker and Katz discussed six more specific categories of theories that explain corruption p.
Neighborhood explanations theories focus on elements of social disorganization theory, such as poverty and informal social control, in neighborhoods and how they influence police deviance. Police organizations theories focus on the organizational structure of police departments and the integrity of their leaders and supervisors.
Police subculture theories attempt to explain corruption as a result of peer pressure and group solidarity factors that exist within the subculture of police officers p. Officer Typologies of Corruption In his book on the sociological approach to studying police corruption, Lawrence Sherman categorizes departments into three typologies according to the level of pervasiveness of corruption.
The first type, rotten apples and rotten pockets, is characterized by only small numbers of individual officers and groups of officers p. Type II departments contain pervasive unorganized corruption in which a majority of police officials are corrupt, but they have little relationship to each other in that there is no informal organization of engaging in corruption.
Type III departments have pervasive organized corruption in which a hierarchical and authoritarian system exists, involving officials from not only within the department but also political figures. Sherman additionally discusses some of the constant factors that contribute to the ease of engaging in corruption.
The psychological paradigm analyzes individual personalities of officers and specifically focuses on the authoritarian personality, which is characterized by conservatism, aggression, and cynicism p.
In contrast to this dispositional model of the police personality, the sociological paradigm focuses on the socialization process that officers experience through the academy, training, and experience in the field. This professionalization occurs as officers internalize the norms and values learned on the job.
The third paradigm, known as the anthropological or culturalization perspective, refers to the occupational culture of policing and the attitudes, values, and beliefs that are transmitted through the police subculture. These rules and norms are sometimes unwritten, particularly when dealing with situations related to gratuities or bribes.
Kappeler and colleagues also proposed several aspects of the police subculture that may explain deviance. Additionally the employment screening processes end up only selecting individuals who conform to middle-class norms, and these screening techniques do not predict how well recruits will be able to perform their duties.
The police academy itself then calls for further conformity into a new set of standards from the already homogenous group of recruits. Much of this training and preparation involves emphasizing an "exaggerated sense of danger" which is characterized as such because of the overall low likelihood for potential injury.The rotten apple theory minimizes the public's negative response to police corruption after every act of corruption, because it is just one bad apple that might have rotted a few in the barrel.
The deviant subculture theory suggests that the police officers subculture is a deviant one and causes corruption. In contrast to the "Rotten Barrel" theory, the traditional "Rotten Apple" theory has argued that deviant police officers brought their undesirable traits into the policing profession when they were hired; under this theory, the solution to police misconduct is to improve the psychological screening of police officers so that the "rotten apples.
In contrast to the "Rotten Barrel" theory, the traditional "Rotten Apple" theory has argued that deviant police officers brought their undesirable traits into the policing profession when they were hired; under this theory, the solution to police misconduct is to improve the psychological screening of police officers so that the "rotten apples.
The isolation of police officers from the community widens the gap between the ordinary citizen and police which in turn create alienation from the ordinary citizens.
Alienation may crate the discrepancy between the moral standard of the police officers and of the ordinary society. The phrase “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch” alludes to the spread of mold or decay from one infected apple to the rest.
A person can be called a rotten apple for being a bad individual among a good group. The term has been applied especially to police corruption in the United States. The. When people use the words ethics and police in the same sentence, people usually think of police deviance, police corruption, misconducts such as drug and alcohol abuse, sexual violence, domestic disputes, and violence within families.