In the United States, corruption is a severe offense and is punishable by law. It is crucial to investigate the roots of such practices to form the responsibility of police officers. An example is the corruption case that concerns violations of the law by the Special Police Department of Baltimore, whose original task was to protect the citizens. The city’s streets faced the highest homicide rate in its history of illegal weapons.
The Baltimore Police Department’s former officers have faced allegations of corruption. Their actions included regular extortion of money, illegal drug trade, falsification of official documents, and conducting searches without appropriate warrants (Lussenhop, 2018). Officers often hunted down suspected drug dealers on their own to steal amounts of drugs (Lussenhop, 2018). Then, they sold narcotics on the streets of Baltimore (Lussenhop, 2018). Such actions resulted in charge and survey of the entire Police Department by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
With regard to the individual and department-level factors, there were some signs of police corruption increase. Referring to individual elements, the problem is based on the superiority of personal interests over public and state matters, the value of comfort and various forms of material consumption (Cox et al., 2018). Hence, Baltimore Police Officers acknowledged that they “stole cash from people’s homes when given the opportunity, and split the take with fellow officers” (Lussenhop, 2018). Thus, corruption appeared due to personal interest in material gain.
Moreover, the corruption system could remain functioning without any investigation for a long time because of department issues. For instance, Cox et al. (2018) suggest that such factors as no sense of responsibility perform corrupt practices and the particular police subculture contribute to an improper environment. According to Lussenhop (2018), the corruption within the special forces was not limited to eight officially accused officers but involved more law enforcement officers being still in the service. Therefore, the eight officers acted together, being able to bribe their chiefs to be in the same department.
To sum up, the case of the Baltimore Police Department is an example of deeply rooted corruption. Consequently, the US authorities charged eight officers, violating the law. The analyzed factors such as material interest, lack of responsibility, particular police environment promoting illegal activities, and discouraging honest officers reveal corruption’s fundamental problems. Thus, the example might become an essential component in creating and implementing ethical standards in US police officers’ training.
Cox, S. M., Massey, D., Koski, C. M., & Fitch, B. D. (2018). Introduction to Policing (4th ed.). Sage Publications.
Lussenhop, J. (2018). Who were the corrupt Baltimore police officers? BBC. Web.