Police Corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)

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Police Corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)

"Police corruption undermines the foundation of our city..." "Officers who use the shield of service as a sword to commit crimes jeopardize the safety of all of us, and they do dishonor to their colleagues and to the city they swore to protect." Alejandro N. Mayorkas, United States Attorney, Central District of California, (U.S. Department of Justice News Release, 2000).

Police corruption is not a new problem in society and there is not a standard way to deal with it. Police officers have enormous power and responsibility and are asked to make difficult decisions. There is not an exact guide to behavior for police officers so their discretion can lead to corruption (Monkkonen, 1999). The existence of police corruption in America has created a negative public view of law enforcement. Police corruption has deteriorated the relationship between law enforcement and the community. In the past four years, more than 500 officers in 47 cities have been convicted of various federal crimes. Local and state authorities in 32 other jurisdictions are either engaged in active investigations or prosecutions of dirty cops (Johnson,1998) .

FBI Director Louis J. Freeh has stated: "The insidious nature of police corruption inherently undermines the confidence of the American people in one of the basic tenets of democracy that law enforcement officers will honestly and fairly protect and serve the citizens to whom they answer. The selfish and deceitful acts of a few cannot be allowed to impugn the integrity of the law enforcement profession." (U.S. Department of Justice,1998).

The existence of police corruption in society raises many important questions. What causes police of...

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Los Angeles Police Department, "Board of Inquiry into the Rampart Area Corruption

Incident"01 March 2000; available from http://www.lapdonline.org/pdf_files/pc/boi_pub.pdf

U.S. Department of Justice, "Los Angeles Police Officer, Ex-Cop Indicted on Federal

Conspiracy Charges", news release, 05 April 2000; (photocopied).

Monkkonen, Erik, "Crossing the (Blue) Line The Problem With Commissions", Los

Angeles Times, 26 Sept 1999, p. M-1.

U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, news release, 21 Jan 1998;

Available from http://www.fbi.gov/pressrm/pressrel/pressrel98/police.htm

"Report: LA Convictions May Be Tossed", The Associated Press, 18 April 2000.

James A. Inciardi, Criminal Justice, 3rd. ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1990.

Lawrence W. Sherman, Scandal and Reform, Berkely: University of California Press, 1978.

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