Summary: Obtaining Police Misconduct Essay

By completing a college degree program, there are several benefits beyond personal satisfaction and achievement and officer is able to reap. Increased salary can motivate just about anyone and officers obtaining a degree can be rewarded with extra monthly income. Zimmerman (2014) explains in the late 1970’s a college graduate earned a 55 percent greater salary than that of a person holding only a high school diploma. This percentage had soared to 75 percent by the 1990’s. The author points out in today’s economy, this percentage is even higher.

A college graduate earns an 85 percent higher salary than a person holding only a high school diploma. Although many departments do not require a police officer to have a post-secondary degree, possession of such can greatly increase their chances for promotion. Promotions can vary from achieving a higher rank such as Sergeant or Lieutenant to becoming a Detective. According to Hilah, and Densley (2013), officers who hold college degrees have a great career advantage over fellow officers who do not.

Obtaining a four year degree can also bring opportunities for a police officer wanting to move from the state level to the federal level. Most positions within federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, United States Marshall Service, Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Secret Service require an applicant to hold a four year degree. Even though not all federal career positions require a four year degree, and officer with this achievement has an increased chance of being chosen for an opening (Walker et. al 2008). Dependent Variable

Police misconduct is defined as inappropriate conduct and disciplinary actions performed by police officers that conflict with their daily assigned duties and policies (lvkovic, 2005). The author explains police misconduct is divided into different classifications. The first category is work-related deviance which includes sleeping on duty, internal corruption, theft or burglary of departmental property and accepting monetary bribes in exchange for special treatment or privileges to local businesses or citizens. The second classification is mistreatment or abuse of authority.

Officers abuse their authority when they use their granted power to use unnecessary force or brutality against citizens such as verbal attacks on citizens during traffic st calls for service. This also includes abuse to legal statues by violating the constitutional rights of fellow officers and citizens (Ivkovic, 2005) According to Kane and White (2009), there are three different types of police misconduct. The first, police crime, occurs when police officers use their positions of public trust to blatantly violate standing criminal laws.

Police corruptions, the second, involves officers who illegally use their position or authority to engage in profit motivated misconduct for personal gain. An officer receiving money from an illegally operated business in exchange for non-enforcement of the law is an example of this. The last type of misconduct described by the authors is the abuse of police authority through physical force, psychological abuse and legal abuse. Physical abuse is such abuse where one uses excessive force or physical harassment. The psychological abuse occurs through disrespect, harassment, ridicule, excessive traffic stops, even intimidation.

The authors report a recent study of 1,543 City of New York police officers, one third of the disciplinary complaints involved psychological abuse. Legal abuse of police authority is in the form of perjury on the witness stand to influence a criminal verdict or violating criminal laws. Although most police misconduct occurs while the officer is on duty, misconduct off duty can occur also. Police misconduct and corruption does not designate all crimes performed by police officers because many misconduct actions may have nothing to do with being on duty.

Some examples of off duty deviance includes personal disputes, including domestic partner violence and driving while intoxicated. Off duty deviance is just as severely punishable as on duty misconduct (Sherman, 1978). Misconduct Reported to Police Administration A police officer deviance can be reported to police administration several ways. The first is the citizen initiated complaint. Citizens who themselves participate in the misconduct or corrupt behavior of the officer are one of the best sources of information.

The citizen who engages in illegal activities with the officer would typically justify their decision as the cost and nature of doing business and not associate the transaction as corruption (Ivkovic, 2005). Secondly, citizens can witness firsthand police misconduct and make an official report directly to police administration. Most of the time, citizens that witness police misconduct do not always report the act out of fear of retaliation by the acting officer for reporting the crime |(lvkovic, 2005). Another method of reporting comes from internal sources within the department.

Police officers rarely conduct business without other officers knowing about it or being present. Officers have various opportunities to detect corrupt behavior by fellow police officers through their day to day activities. Finally, another source of police misconduct and corruption is the media. In the late 1970’s, the New York Times interviewed local bartenders, restaurant owners, liquor store operators, tow truck drivers, building contractors, parking attendants, prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges and discovered a handful of corruption cases (Ivkovic, 2005). Discipline and Punishment

After the police administration has been notified of an officer’s misconduct, there are several steps to address the issue. According to Ivkovic (2005), police managers should address any report of misconduct immediately. This sets the tone to every employed officer that policy and procedural violations are serious and unacceptable. The first step in handling complaints of this nature is to investigate the validity of the allegation to determine if it holds any merit. Depending on the size of the police department the investigation can be handled by the officer’s direct supervisor or an internal investigations division.

The investigating administrator must review the complaint, process any accompanying evidence, and interview the accused and any witnesses. One the investigator completes the investigation and reports his or her findings, the accused police officer can face disciplinary actions from forced administrative leave to termination. According to Baca et. al, (2006), the International Association of Chiefs of Police National Law Enforcement Police Center Advisory Board Members reports the disciplinary process should use a matrix style system to determine punishment.

The matrix uses a table that allows the investigating administrator or decision maker to consider two things at the same time. For example, the decision maker could use the seriousness of the alleged crime and the extent of the accused officer’s prior record. The matrix takes into consideration these two variables and provides as suggested punishment thus eliminating personal discretion and creating a fair system. The matrix is not absolute and each department is suggested to establish a matrix table that works best for their own departmental policy.

Reasons behind Police Misconduct There are several reasons why many police officers defend their misconduct. Porter and Warrender (2009) vindicates that the individual officer is blamed for their own actions and the officer is then labeled a bad apple. Labeling in this way takes the liability off the police department. Another reason officers defend their misconduct is the opportunity to commit the misconduct. If an officer is assigned to a particular beat or area that experiences crimes of theft or assaults, the officer is most likely to perform the same types of crimes.

Many officers blame their misconduct on the nature of police work. Common practice is for officers to work alone or with another partner but little to no supervision is not uncommon. This creates an environment conducive to cynicism and negative behavior that can go uncorrected or unnoticed. Repeated exposure to misconduct and corruption by other officers could lead the officer to mistakenly believe that all police officers are performing misconducts and it is acceptable police culture (Kane and White, 2009). Summary To conclude, there are several levels of education for a police officer.

The first initial stage covers the fundamental education for a police officer to start their career. Higher levels of education are beneficial and are offered by accredited colleges. Some police departments require an officer to obtain an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree before being considered for employment. After employment, the officer must continue training to remain up to date on ongoing changes in legislation and local laws. Police officers that continue their education at the degree level have extra benefits such as higher salary, promotion opportunities and a variety of career choices.

The result of the researching levels of higher education for police officers is the knowledge of different college degrees that can be achieved and the benefits that follow. Police misconduct arises in various forms whether on the job or off duty. Misconduct can be reported from several sources such as citizens, fellow officers, and the media. After receiving the complaint, police administration must act immediately and allocate appropriate punishment when necessary. Researching police misconduct has resulted in the knowledge of types of police misconduct and events that take place to address the violating officer.