Ethical Misconduct Cases in Law Enforcement in the US

Most police officers do not pay attention to their duties or take advantage of their powerful position for self-interest by violating several laws and obligations required by their moral code of practice. Therefore, this essay provides real-life examples of ethical misconduct cases in law Enforcement in the US, involving graft, gratitude, professional courtesy, ticket-fixing, drug abuse, and alcohol use while on duty, sexual misconduct, and criminal cops.

On Friday, July 16, 2021, a veteran detective from Pennsylvania Police Department, Christopher Collare, was convicted by the U.S. Federal jury for accepting bribes and making false statements. According to the evidence provided in court, the police officer used his position to have sex with two women in exchange for false statements and altering the prosecution outcomes (Department of Justice, 2021a). His actions meet the criteria for GRATITUDE as he used his position to obtain unnecessary favors to bend the law. Therefore, the possible limitations for this type of corruption include employing randomized and targeted integrity testing and conducting surveys of police interactions with the public to determine misdemeanors.

On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, a Federal indictment charged two police officers from Detroit with bribery in connection with towing permits. According to the reports, the two law enforcement officers conspired to demand and obtain thousands of dollars in cash, car repair services, cars, and new carpeting for one of the officer’s homes in exchange for providing the towing company information about an ongoing integrity unit case (Department of Justice, 2021c). As a result, their action of receiving cash for information satisfies the description of an economic GRAFT. Therefore, authorities should develop better evidence handling procedures to ensure that information does not fall into the wrong hands and increase police salaries to deter them from seeking other sources of income.

On February 3, 2021, the U.S. News reported that a retired officer had been sentenced to nine months in prison because of a corruption case involving a retired police chief and her wife, a prosecutor. The police officer, Niall Silva, was sentenced and incarcerated for conspiring with the former police chief and deputy prosecutor to frame a relative for stealing cash amid a federal investigation (Associated Press, 2021a). Therefore, his act constitutes PROFESSIONAL COURTESY as he did not respect the law and instead favored the police chief and his wife because of their authority positions. Consequently, the police force should improve its internal affairs unit to identify leaders using their authority to take advantage of others. Additionally, authorities should rotate staff in risk positions to ensure adherence to protocol.

A news report published on April 20, 2021, described a case of a police officer who filed claims for wrongful dismissal from his chief, whom he accused of dismissing traffic tickets for his friends and family. Although the evidence tabled suggests that the chief manipulated his position, authorities took no action against him (Attrino, 2021). Therefore, the case qualifies for TICKET FIXING as the chief suspended ticketing records for his friends and a few favored individuals. The recommended solutions include providing a whistleblowing solution that ensures fair treatment and asserting ethical leadership to ensure that police officers in authority appropriately use their power.

On Sunday, November 14, 2021, an RTV host reported that a Twente police officer allowed criminals access to confidential information, including addresses, observation reports, names, and personal information from the police server in exchange for a supply of cocaine. According to the report, the officer had been battling drug addiction issues, influencing him to share vital information to satisfy his needs (Corrupt Police Officer, 2021). His actions meet the description of ON-DUTY DRUG ABUSE because his use of drugs impacted his judgment, resulting in ethical violations. Therefore, the police force should establish early warning systems and eliminate enforceable laws to allow officers to open up about their issues and obtain professional help.

A report by Los Angeles Times on June 4, 2021, suggests that a cop, Nicolas Quintanilla-Borja, threatened to kill his cousin and another man using a shot-gun assigned to him by the Los Angeles LAPD while under the influence of alcohol (Rector & Winton, 2021). His destructive behavior fits the description of ALCOHOL ABUSE because he was highly intoxicated during the time. Therefore, the police force should improve ethical training to advise law enforcement officers on the detrimental impact of abusing alcohol on and off duty. Moreover, the police force should provide an internal affairs unit to monitor police affairs and discourage negative behavior.

On November 5, 2021, the Bangor Daily News published a report highlighting the story of a Stockton Springs police officer arrested and charged with assaulting a teenager several times over some months. The officer faces 12 counts of sexual assault and is scheduled to appear in court on January 27, 2022 (Associated Press, 2021b). The police officer’s unethical behaviors fit the description of SEXUAL MISCONDUCT because he used his power to assault the 15-year-old girl forcefully. However, the police force can address this issue by investing in covert high technology surveillance and providing whistleblowing procedures to counter such issues.

On Friday, October 29, 2021, the Central District of California published a story of an officer arrested in Inglewood for drug trafficking charges. According to the report, the police officer delivered a kilogram of cocaine to criminals in exchange for $22,000 (Department of Justice, 2021b). Therefore, his actions fit under the description of CRIMINAL COPS as the police officer was associated with drug trafficking and engaged in activities classifying him as a criminal more than a cop. Therefore, authorities should provide officers with a written code of ethics and randomized integrity testing.


Attrino, G. A. (2021). N.J. cop who accused police chief of fixing tickets was wrongly suspended, lawsuit says. Nj. Web.

Associated Press. (2021a). Honolulu police officer sentenced in federal corruption case. U.S. News World Report. Web.

Associated Press. (2021b). Part-time police officer accused of sexual assault of teen. U.S. News Report. Web.

Department of Justice (2021a). Former Police Detective And FBI Task Force Officer Convicted Of. Web.

Department of Justice. (2021b). Inglewood Police Officer and an Informant Arrested on Federal Drug. Web.

Department of Justice. (2021c). Two Detroit police officers indicted for bribery and bribery. Web.

Corrupt police officer exchanged confidential information for drugs hundreds of times. (2021). Web.

Rector, K., & Winton, R. (2021). LAPD policy mum on armed, off-duty officers drinking alcohol. Los Angeles Times. Web.

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DemoEssays. "Ethical Misconduct Cases in Law Enforcement in the US." January 5, 2023.