Law Enforcement & Corruption

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 00:03

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D.: Well I thinklaw enforcement corruption is a very complex phenomenon.One of the simpler theories that has been around for decadesis the idea that we simply hire bad people,that somehow that bad apple slipped through the cracksand that once they find themselvesin bed with the law enforcement organization

    • 00:24

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: they simply continue in their bad ways.Unfortunately, that fails to explainhow whole teams, in many cases, for example, highly trained,highly experienced investigators, complete teamswill find themselves caught up in an ethical scandal.Perhaps a theft of money, abuse of authority,

    • 00:45

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: planting evidence, falsifying police reports,and so yes, it's absolutely criticalthat law enforcement begins with the mostethical, character rich pool of peoplethat we can possibly identify.But, I think, ethics goes much deeper than that.I think ethics starts in the Academy

    • 01:07

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: with the types of training that young officers are exposed to,the kinds of role models that they are exposed to, whenthey get out into the field and they're workingwith more experienced people, the kinds of behaviorsthat an organization rewards, and the kind of supervisionand policy, of course, that ultimately officersare accountable to.

    • 01:28

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: But a couple of the unique problems that law enforcementofficers may encounter are number one, is law enforcementofficers, on the whole, like to consider themselves to begood, ethical, moral people.Their job is to make society a better place,to take people who are doing wrong

    • 01:48

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: and allow the course to hold them accountable.And so, the officers can become frustrated.They can become frustrated with the system,and they can become callous by seeingthe same sort of offenses over and over again,and so officers can slip into a form of mental rationalization,where they can justify their bad behavior by rationalizing it.

    • 02:10

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: And for the most part police officersare very intelligent people.And studies on law enforcement personalitiessort of bring this out and so they wereable to find rationalization.So, for example, if they abuse their authorityit may be something along the lines of wellif he didn't want to be abused or arrested by law enforcementofficers, then he shouldn't have been dealing drugs.

    • 02:33

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: Or well, yeah, we stole some moneyon this particular investigation,but the money belonged to a dope dealerso there's no real threat here.Nobody was really harmed.We can sometimes fall victim too wellyeah I broke the law to upheld the law,but it's for the greater good.And so rationalizations like that Ithink present a real problem.

    • 02:54

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: And the second aspect is that, as a good friend of mineonce told me, officers don't jumpin the deep end of misconduct, jump in the pool,they get into the shallow end and they wade in.And so most officers don't come in and out right large,if you will, act of misconduct.Typically, it starts with smaller acts.

    • 03:16

      BRIAN D. FITCH, PH.D. [continued]: And so if an agency isn't vigilantwith their supervision, they're not vigilant with the reportingpractices, and they don't promotethe type of ethical climate that leads the officerto do the right thing, I think, itcan present more problems for an officer, particularlya younger officer.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Law Enforcement & Corruption

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Abstract

Brian D. Fitch discusses corruption in law enforcement. He describes what the corruption generally looks like, and he explains the ethical training and pressures police officers experience.

Law Enforcement & Corruption

Brian D. Fitch discusses corruption in law enforcement. He describes what the corruption generally looks like, and he explains the ethical training and pressures police officers experience.

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