Police Corruption In The United States Of America

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Police Corruption in the United States of America


Police corruption is neither a new phenomenon nor is it confined to any particular area of the world. In fact, police corruption can be traced back to the world's first police force in London, England where several accounts of police corruption have been documented since the force's inception. Police corruption is also an inevitable outgrowth of all societies, and exists in every region including: Turkey, Thailand, Mexico, Africa, China, and The United States. Police corruption varies in many degrees as well. For example, police corruption can simply be sleeping while on duty to taking bribes, using drugs, or taking payoffs for purposes of personal gain. The phenomenon of police corruption comes in all forms and shapes and it exists in every country, but what exactly is police corruption? How can one define such a broad idea and narrow this spectacle to causes of drug-specific corruption? In the following section several definitions of what has been considered police corruption are presented. (Verma 264-279)

Police Corruption Defined

To begin, an overview of what police corruption means in its legal definition, and how it can be defined in several forms is offered. Some examples of police corruption in the broadest sense can be described as sleeping on duty to drug smuggling and everything in between consisting of items such as nepotism, racism, brutality, and theft.

In other words the police officer is not concerned with the actual organization itself but rather in the corruption for his own personal gains. A third definition of police corruption is, "Any type of proscribed behavior engaged by a law enforcement officer who receives or expects to receive by virtue of his official position, an actual or potential unauthorized reward or gain" (Weisburd 89-95). This definition is probably a bit more concise due to its rhetoric of "proscribed behavior" not only by the department but by criminal law. Another definition is "acts involving the misuse of authority by a police officer in a manner designed to produce personal gain for himself or others". However, the public is all too quick in shifting the blame to the individual officer when in fact the officer is not always acting alone.

Police Corruption Types

The following are the main types of police corruption:

Corruption of authority: this type of corruption includes the acceptance of material gratitude's such as meals, cigarettes and sex by the officer because the citizen likes the police.


It is common practice in many communities for a police to “receive goods, services, or money for referring business.

Opportunistic theft: in this situation, the police officer is the initiator of this corrupt act.

Shake downs: this is another opportunistic form of corruption. In this type, the officer accepts neither a bribe for nor arresting an individual whom he has witnesses commit a criminal violence.

Causation of Police Corruption

The causation of police corruption can be attributed to many factors such as age, innocence, lack of integrity, police subculture, and hiring practices of many departments. To get a truer ...
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