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The American police force has been experiencing improvements in professionalization and better response times. On the other hand, there are a great number of places across the country where the law enforcement is still known for corruption and situations of inappropriate behavior. Normally, people trust the police force, depending on their responsibilities to protect society from any type of dangerous situations that may happen to them; however, the misconduct and abuse of power by a few of the officers may easily lead to a lower percent of trust in the law enforcement. The police work creates a dangerous moral slope that may change an officer radically from being honest to being able to abuse the power they have. All the negative side of the police work that is usually not revealed to the broad masses of population deals with situations that are rarely pleasant, and one must have a high level of stress resistance in order to continue performing well at all times. This paper seeks to discuss police deviance, its definition and example, and the ways of its prevention.
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Definition of Police Deviance
According to Schmalleger F. and Worrall J. (2010), deviance is a situation when a person violates the usually accepted rules of a group of people. The majority of rules and practice that are implemented by various organizations are based on these widely accepted norms. Also, rules are created due to the fact that many types of organizations need to catalogue a variety of acts of deviance. The act of deviance takes place in every kind of jobs, for example, the breaking of laws by a public worker is referred to as malfeasance, although everyone prefers to use term “defiance” instead. A great number of agencies create their own codes of conduct that are to be taught to every employee and improved during their activities (Kappeler, Sluder, & Alpert, 2010). Corruption is one of the types of deviance, also referred to as graft, which involves the intentional breaking of rles by a public worker with the aim to gain material rewards. Part of corruption is also theft, contraband and embezzlement, which make the punishment much tougher. The act of police deviance takes place when an officer’s behavior does not coincide with normal standards of ethical conduct. From the society’s view, the term “police deviance” is broader than the term “corruption”. One of the theories in criminology suggests that it is quite beneficial to understand the reasons behind breaking the rules of the social group which one is a part of. That is why it is important for the police officers to create groups that would show them ways to correct the problems within their group.
How Common Is Police Deviance?
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It is very difficult to determine the existence of police deviance in certain police departments, which, in turn, makes it even harder to comprehend the level of the deviance all across the country. It has been observed that due to the multitude of rules and regulations that police agencies have, the majority of officers have at some point violated one of the policies at least on one occasion. Most of these violations are small, for instance, officers not wearing their hats when they are supposed to, but some of them are quite serious and unfortunately happen widely. Among them are verbal and physical abuse, creating police reports with the addition of false information, giving false testimonies just to place individuals in jail, etc. This kind of behavior became very common for some of the police officers in a way that it became simply a normal way of conduct, which makes it very difficult to impose any type of organizational corrections on them (Kappeler, Sluder, & Alpert, 2010).
Example of Police Deviance
An instance of police deviance is the case of two Camden policemen who changed the evidence in drug cases. These changes made more than 200 criminal cases dismissed. The officers weree suspended at the beginning of the investigation and were later tried in court in front of a grand jury (Kane & White, 2009). Among other charges that these two policemen were brought against were conducting illegal searching and giving false testimony (Associated Press, 2010).
How to Prevent Deviance?
There are a few ways to prevent deviance. Raising the pay of police officers is the first step in preventing corruption. It is also recommended to teach ethics to the policemen during the academy years or as training workshops throughout the working years. Another step in preventing police deviance and corruption is to perform a routine transfer of officers from one office to another. On the other hand, the CALEA was formed in order to help diminish deviance and set specific requirements that policemen must meet every year to be able to continue working. Oftentimes, there are corruption investigations conducted to show different misconduct of the police force officers. Finally, specialists from outside the police departments are hired as administrators with the scope of monitoring the performance of a particular department. All of the above steps have become routine practices of preventing police deviance (Schmalleger & Worrall, 2010).
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The police deviance and corruption in particular have become usual issue for many police departments all across the nation. Even though the law enforcement units play an important role in keeping society safe, sometimes, they need to be validated that they truly perform their duties in the best possible manner. A policeman holds the trust of the society that he or she protects; however, this trust can erode quickly if they are caught being corrupt or not holding the promise of protecting the people no matter what situation they are faced with. In any small case of corruption, there must be stringent investigation processes that would eliminate public mistrust of the police force.
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