Law enforcement officers are both respected and suspected, They wield tremendous power and are capable of depriving persons of their freedom, reputation, and life. The majority of law enforcement officers are competent, honest, professional, and psychologically stable, but there are some who may use their shields as a license to steal and or kill. Law enforcement leaders are in a quandary as to how much corruption exists in their agencies. While most law enforcement departments try to employ the best individuals possible, the hard question is what happens when they become corrupt. The public is expected to put its faith and trust in law enforcement officers. These men and women are called on to protect the lives and rights of others. The Oath of Honor places on them a high code of ethics for their public and private lives. When a police officer takes bribes it could make the whole department look bad not just the single individual.
The corruptive process and occupational deviance in law enforcement have their counterparts in other professions. Corruption occurs in all professions and occupations. In law enforcement there are obviously more opportunities for corruption than in the other professions. History and documented facts have shown us, many of them show great control and responsibility, but it is the small percentage of those officers who are corrupt that have brought scrutiny and lack of trust in police departments nationwide. Police corruption is defined as the abuse of police authority for personal or organizational gain, and it comes in many shapes and sizes. Ever since the idea of rules and regulation came about there have been law personnel who were chosen to enforce those regulations. Some of those law enforcement personnel have been persuaded to look the other way on certain violations committed by their friends or family; but also major drug trafficking and money laundering have occurred over time. As payment for violations, cops usually accept personal favors, bribes, and gratuities. Extensive police corruption however includes brutality, drug abuse, and framing suspects. No matter what type of corruption occurs it is still a complex phenomenon that has affected the world. Since the beginning of police departments many things have changed but the existence of corruption has been around forever.
Corruption can be broken down into two sections, internal and external corruption. Internal corruption is the illegal acts and agreements within a department by more than one of the officers. External corruption is the illegal acts with the public by one or more officers in a department. Many believe that power tends to create corruption, but there have been no studies to prove officers are influenced easier than other members of society. The actual danger of corruption is that police may use organizational power to encourage and create crime rather than deterring it. General police corruption can include brutality, discrimination, sexual harassment, intimidation, and unnecessary use of weapons. Officers throughout history have been involved in activities such as extortion of money and narcotics from narcotics violators in order to avoid arrest. Bribes have been accepted and personal associations with criminals, along with giving false testimony in court have also occurred leading to lack of trust and resentment toward police officers. A police scandal is perceived both as a socially constructed phenomenon and as an agent of change that can lead to realignments in the structure of power with a social organization.
A question many have asked the Justice Systems is what is being done in regards to putting an end to police corruption? The United States Justice Department in Washington, D.C. has responded by acting swiftly to create a program called the Police Foundation, the purpose to interview and survey police abuse and corruption and how ramped it is.