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Driving Corruption In The Baltimore Police Department

In the interviews Wood (2015) and Balko (2015), medically retired Police Officer and former Marine, Sargent Michael Wood discusses his time on the Baltimore Police Department and the driving factors to police corruption that is drawn from his experience. Sgt. Wood was a police officer for 11 years and for the first four years he was assigned to a majority black neighborhood. His second assignment was in a majority white neighborhood and during this assignment Sgt. Wood formulated an opinion on the police policies that drove corruption among good men and women (Wood, 2015). Although Sgt. Wood identifies many fascinating issues within the Baltimore Police Department, I will focus attention on his insight into the Baltimore police culture and…show more content…
The first factor driving corruption, Sgt. Wood identifies a metric devised by Baltimore political and police leadership to measure the success of policing by tallying the number of arrest by each police officer and assigning a required hard quota to each police officer in order to measure his or her success. This quota requirement unintentionally set the stage for corruption in the form on misfeasance. For example, Sgt. Wood indicated that after assignment to an upscale all white neighborhood he would enter a black poor neighborhood to meet his arrest stats because his supervisors complained that he was not meeting department numbers. Because of the crime that plagues inner-city minority neighborhoods, it is easy for police officers to meet arrest quotas. It was department policy for Sgt. Wood to meet the arrest quotas, but…show more content…
Wood identifies that during the probationary period of the police officers first year on the force he or she can easily be fired for any cause. He specifically points to the fact that if a rookie police officer were to complain about another police officer’s ethical behavior the rookie police officer could be terminated. This constant threat of easy termination forces the police officers hand to fall in line with others. Consequently, during the officers first year he or she learns to shut up and do as others do. Therefore, by the end of the polices officers first year he or she is just as corrupt or ignorant to the corrupt actions of fellow officers. For instance, Mr. Wood alleged that another officer kicked a handcuffed and facedown suspect at the end of a chase (Wood, 2015). Two problem exist, the actions of the officer kicking an act of malfeasance and the failure to report the crime by the witnessing officer an act of nonfeasance. Although probationary periods are great policy, if not administered correctly an environment of corruption will easily be passed to another generation of police officers. Therefore, the lack of department policy to protect new officers from termination if reporting unethical actions was the driving factor the lead officers like Sgt. Wood to perform nonfeasance while the other officers kicked the suspect (Albanese, 2012). Essentially, police officer become ignorant of the unethical behavior
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