SOC 3750 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Rotten Apples, Police Misconduct, Police Corruption

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9 Feb 2016
Chapter 9 IPC
Police Deviance, Accountability and Control
-Police are controlled by written rules found in the Criminal Code and
Police Acts, while others are undocumented and exist in the
expectations of society and Police themselves
i.e.) Criminal code has rules on deadly force
- Rules relating to demeanor and police citizen interaction are
prescribed by society, which expects o$cers to maintain certain
ethical standards.
-Police deviance refers to behavior that violates any of these norms
-Standards of police behavior come from three perspectives 1) ethical
2) organizational 3) legal
Ethical standards- linked to morality and concerns individuals moral
values including integrity and responsible behavior. If a police o$cer
does not hold moral values including responsibility and integrity he or
she may be prone to deviant behavior
Organizational standards- established by individual police
departments, police boards and commissions,
Legal standards -are outlined in substantive and procedural law
Theories of Police Deviance
Rotten apples and rotten pockets- corruption is limited to a small
number of police o$cers that were probably dishonest prior to their
employment within law enforcement. The rotten apple is the one
o$cer engaged in deviant behavior --- Rotten pocket refers to a few
o$cers who engage in corrupt activities as a group
Pervasive unorganized- takes rotten apple one step further by
suggesting deviance and corruption are not limited to a few, but
that a number of police o$cers are actively and passively involved
in the corrupt activities – learned through informal socialization
Pervasive organized- for corruption to become organized, every
level of command and a large number of police o$cers must be
involved, formally taught to police --- most serious police
misconduct. Occurs when police misconduct violates external
expectations of what a department should be doing, but is also
supported by peers.
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Reasons for Police Deviance
- Large number of police o$cers
- Low visibility of patrol o$cers- not always being watched by
- Complex task of policing- which incorporates law enforcement,
order maintenance and service
- Discretion
- Contacts formed during the course of their work with deviant
and criminal subcultures can introduce the o$cer to deviance
- Police subculture- ie) code of silence
- Police managers are part of the police subculture having worked
their way up the ranks
- Police o$cers generally think they are underpaid for what they
Types of Police Deviance
- Police misbehavior- refers to violation of organizational rules and
regulations, standards, or policies and procedures and includes
o/enses such as improper dress or untidiness, sloppy work
habits, insubordination. May also be described as conduct
unbecoming to a police o$cer, regarded as unsuitable
- Police corruption- where the police act as a group for personal
gain. Activity engaged in either by police o$cers acting alone or
as a group. Gratuities (accepting free meals or co/ee) have
been deemed unethical for police to accept. Another form of
police corruption is criminal activity. This occurs in two ways. 1)
O$cer appropriating goods or money during an investigation
(retaining drugs or money) or 2) actual commission of an
o/ense. The third type of police corruption relates to
administrative justice-police may decide not to investigate
certain events or individuals for personal liaisons, or may overtly
hinder investigations. They may tell lies in court etc.
Police misuse of force
-Police o$cers often resort to a form of coercion
- 4 type so of coercion
1) Verbal- use of deceit, threats, promises and derogatory language
2) Physical coercion- use of o$cer’s physical strength
3) Non lethal coercion-use of a weapon in addition to use of police
4) Lethal coercion- use of deadly weapon in such a manner that a
person is likely injured or killed
- O$cers taught o use least violent option initially
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