The United States has been treated to periodic scandals involving gross misconduct by police officers in various law enforcement agencies which have managed to make their way into the public domain. A good example is the videotaping of police brutality in Los Angeles as policemen assaulted Rodney King. The police department are made up of tightly knit relationships between all the members; this may stem primarily from the persistently adversarial nature of the subjects they deal with, the criminals; an ‘us-versus-them’ attitude is most likely to occur in the event of a situation that threatens the safety of some of the members of the group; this include danger from a non-criminal source, for example higher authority. This attitude will therefore be very present in cases where a particular individual or group of officers are accused of misconduct and face penalties for their actions. An unspoken ‘code of silence’ has for a long time been suggested as governing the commission and reporting of cases of misconduct among the police fraternity; leading to the question whether the cases that come into the public domain are just the tip of the iceberg; and whether cases of extreme misconduct have never been reported and the perpetrators penalized.
Police officers are charged with the task of ensuring the safety of other people and their property; that are constantly threatened by undesirable elements of the society. The same group is expected to carry out this mandate while balancing the use of reasonable force and working with people and in an environment that is dangerous and potentially fatal. Additionally, they deal with situations which threaten the livelihoods, freedom and lives of the criminals; who would go to any length to avoid the consequences of their criminal activities; including corruption of such officers.
The conduct of a police officer is governed by many aspects both internal to him and those of his surroundings. Some of these include his attitude toward the police code of conduct, his immediate company for example partner or members of a specialized team; and their tolerance of misconduct behavior; and their willingness not only to report the case but to testify in court incase the perpetrator is charged in court. The behavior is also dependent on the perception of the perpetrator on the mechanism and penalties involved in dealing with such cases; whether they are harsh or lenient.
It is obvious therefore that a myriad of factors will determine whether an individual officer will make the (usually) split second decision for example to take an item from the scene of crime or not. It is therefore necessary to quantify these factors through an empirical study; the outcomes of this study will not only shed light on the factors surrounding misconduct of a police officer, but it will also allow for better prediction of future conduct by allowing the creation of measurement instruments that will gauge environments that increase the likelihood of an officer to be unethical; and thus allow better prevention of such incidents in the future.
This study seek not only to study the officer as an individual, but also to study his environment; and how it influences him to commit crimes or engage in unethical practices; thus the study recognizes the importance of the two factors in the issues; and that misconduct can only happen if the officer is wiling or compelled; and that the environment allows him either to do it easily or offers lenient or no repercussions if such was to be reported.
The pertinent questions in this study thus are;
- Are there any differences in the way the individual police officer perceive the code of ethics governing police practice?
- Does the social structure in their respective law enforcement agencies either encourage or discourage them to engage in misconduct?
- Do the working environment offer them more opportunities to engage in crime than other professions; so as it is easier for a police officer to be unethical?
- What are the attitudes of the contemporaries regarding the upholding of ethical standards; and the penalization of misconduct?
- What is the single factor that most of the players in the law enforcement sector think influences the misconduct of police officers?
By clearly mapping out the officers attitudes and perception, and studying his environment and its connection, this study will achieve the double benefit of understanding misconduct from an agency point of view and offering possible solutions to mitigate such misconduct in the future. In today’s social and political environment where ethics are viewed not only as individual factors but also as shared responsibility extending to the various levels of public service, it is very important for such agencies to maintain a good public outlook in terms of good conduct. However, it is more important that this public perception be based on a credibly ethical basis rather than a manufactured façade of ethics. Thus the relevance of this study is the in-depth exploration of the origin (rather that the outcome) of police misconduct.
The study will revolve around analyzing of information from police officers and law enforcement agencies in form of a survey aimed at describing the perceptions of the officers towards ethics both on their behalf and that of their contemporaries; and aiming to identify factors that may lead an officer towards or away from misconduct. This survey was carried out on behalf of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in 1997 and was aimed at exploring the behavior and attitudes of law enforcement officers in regards to ethics and misconduct [Klockars et al, 2004]. The NIJ is a government agency that is mandated to conduct research on issues surrounding crime and the administration of justice. Several researchers drawn from various academic institutions were involved in the study; although many analytical studies have been based on the data; it is yet to be analyzed for the measurement of difference between individual and agency factors of a police officer that might lead him to misconduct.
The research proposal seeks, most importantly, to separate factors internal to the officer and those of his environment; and to measure the ones which have maximum influence on his conduct. The survey was carried out through self administered questionnaires; with the questions specifically formatted for the study. A total of eleven hypothetical scenarios were created for the respondent to answer a set of seven questions for each that were based on a Likert-type scale ranging from ‘not very serious’ to ‘very serious’ with several intermediates. Several other similar scales were used in the study. The complete set of scenarios and the questions to be answered can be found on Appendix A.
The data will be put through standard statistical collation and eventually formal statistical analysis to reveal the relationships between the various variables of the study.
Section B; Conduct of a police officer
It is prudent to state that only a small percentage of police officers engage in misconduct; and that the rest are able to carry out their duties with minimal complaints or reports of misconduct. For example, in the period between 1990 and 1995 only 3,104 officers out of a total of over 600,000 sworn officers in the United States in that period were penalized for misconduct [Trautman, 1997]. However, it is also prudent to mention that even such a small proportion is cause for concern; this is due to the nature of police work, the duty to protect the civilian, the license to use reasonable force and the need to have maximum public support in-order to achieve these goals. Additionally, the media attention that the misconduct of a single officer (which has entered the public domain) receives has a devastating effect on the image of the parent agency despite the individual responsibility of such an officer of his misconduct. Additionally, there is a general suspicion that the majority of the misconduct cases never make-it to the public domain; and are dealt with internally with the perpetrator never experiencing the full consequences of his misconduct.
In the past various reasons have been given to explain why an officer may choose a certain path that leads to disciplinary consequences [Steinberg and Austern, 1990]; one of the most frequent reasons that come up is that the offender did not have prior or full knowledge that a certain action was a crime, an offence or an unethical practice; or of the regulations, rules and policies regarding a certain aspects of law enforcement. Others attribute such practices to the environment and the type of job that compels one to adopt some practices or fail either at work, at home or both. Yet another reason is following (either direct or interpreted) orders; or that the offensive action was necessary for the agency to achieve law enforcement objectives; or that it was the right action to take. Other less cited and potent reason include greed, personal gratification or benefit, financial difficulties, as a spite to authority, a revenge or to increase the speed of processing subjects through the system [Steinberg and Austern, 1990, 33-35].
The working environment is a major factor of how a person conducts himself; and whether regulations governing ethics and conduct are followed. In the face of unfavorable or stressful working conditions, a worker can respond by either resigning, taking their complains to the management, remaining in the workplace and disregarding their discomfort; or neglect their duties [Hirschman, 1970; Rusbult, et al, 1982; Rusbult et al, 1988; Withey and Cooper, 1986]. Certainly, if police officers are faced with discontent in their workplace, they might respond in any of the ways; for example, an officer may fail to prevent or report misconduct of his colleagues as a way of neglecting his duties in protest over poor working conditions. Alternatively, an officer may fail to report as a way of ignoring the conditions or out of loyalty to fellow sufferers of the workplace (that is, not wanting to make it worse for them than it is already is). On the other hand, officers may be compelled to report such misconduct as a way of voicing complains. The willingness of an officer’s colleagues to report his indiscretions play a major part in motivating him to carry out such practice without fear of repercussions.
The ‘code of silence’ is a factor that has been shown to play a major part in the willingness of an officer to engage in misconduct. Many studies have identified a certain unwritten rule preventing fellow officers from reporting their comrades even in the most offensive instances [Klockars et al. 2004; Vila and Morris 1999; Human Rights Watch, 1998; Skolnick and Fyfe, 1993; Skolnick and Bayley, 1986]; and that the officers who take it upon themselves to report these officers leading to disciplinary repercussions and stigmatized by their colleagues; and most likely get reported and disciplined for an offense in the future as they are a target for retaliatory reporting [Cancino and Enriquez, 2004; Skolnick and Fyfe, 1993]. Creation of comprehensive and strict policies regarding the conduct of a police officer; and stipulation of impacts to the individual, team and supervision of police work; especially in regard to reporting if fellow officers has been shown to significantly undermine the code of silence [Klockars, 2002].
On the other hand, the conduct of a police officer may be linked to internal predisposition that exists before and above the responsibility of the job and the code of ethics of the agency. A significant number of cases of misconduct have been attributed to lack of proper screening during the recruitment of candidates for admission to police academies; leading to recruitment of people highly likely to commit misconduct offenses. Another explanation is that the nature of the work may be attracting applicants who are less likely to disregard ethical principles if the conditions favor misconduct [Raines, 2006]. Alternatively, the recruitment procedure maybe allowing individuals who are too young to have developed adequate personal moral limits; for a job that requires maintenance of high moral standards. However, it is safe to state that the minimum requirement for recruitment result in a force composed of adults who have a minimum ability to perceive and decide right and wrong; and who can comprehend their duty not only to their agency and fellow officers, but also to the public which they are charged to protect [Kohlberg, 1984].
Another factor that has been suggested at influencing occurrence of misconduct among police officers is that of socialization; while fresh recruits have good intentions regarding performance of their duties, they may approach the force with a naïve attitude towards the role of their older colleagues regarding their conduct. Consequently, they are prone to negative influence by peers who have a warped attitude towards moral conduct. The way a new recruit responds to these influences is determined by the level of moral development at the time of joining the force; and their ability to respond adequately to avoid this influence [Lundman, 1980].
Additionally, even if an officer would join a force with strong moral values, s/he might still be forced to engage in misconduct due to pressure from the agency; the officer may be compelled by the supervisors, be influenced by the normal accepted practices in the force or be compelled by peers to take part in such practices. In this position, the officer has the option of quitting the job, joining the very practices he’s trying to avoid; or refuse to join and yet remain in the force leading to stigmatization by his peers and unwarranted reprimands from the supervisors [Hirschman, 1970]. The choice that the officer takes is usually very hard and each with a hefty consequence; and it might very well be to join in the misconduct offences of his or her peers.
Alternatively, the pressure of working as a police officers may be too great for different individuals exposed to the same environment; for example, the constant threat of potentially fatal injury, unconventional working hours, disruption of natural sleep cycles; and the constant contact with violent criminal elements may alter the personality of a person especially if such an officer is under such a situation for a number of years [Kenney and McNamara 1999; Lundman 1980; Paoline 2001; Wilson 1968]. This can also be made worse if such an officer were to loose a close colleague in such a situation either through fatality or injury that is incompatible with police work.
The issue of discretion is also of great importance in determining whether a police officer will choose to commit a certain act or not. For example, outside the office set up of an agency, it is impossible to monitor the day to day practices of an officer who is on patrol [Walker, 2004]; thus giving them the opportunity for misconduct behavior during their patrol hours. It is prudent to mention that not all the officer are tempted or commit these acts when outside the scrutiny of peers and supervisors; and that a majority spend this time carrying out functions within their duties and mandate; in fact, some of this discretion is necessary to allow effective policing of their areas of jurisdiction. However, discretion does allow for an officer inclined to commit unethical acts to do so without fear of repercussion.
In the above scenario, the party most likely to report these acts is the civilian; either as a victim of such acts or as an eyewitness. However, most of the people who would raise issues of police misconduct are victims of them during the process of arrest; therefore, their claims are usually, considered with a good dose of skepticism; additionally, such victims would fear reprisals from such an officer if the claims would fail to stick and he would have to meet the same officer on the patrol again after a period. Another unfortunate scenario is that of citizen apathy; a public perception that any complaint against a police officer will simply be ignored would lead to failure to report such incidents to the relevant authorities [Maynard-Moody and Musheno 2000]. However, the fact of the matter is that some agencies have been shown to ignore public complains against their officers in an attempt to protect then from disciplinary repercussions of their misconduct [Raines, 2005].
The opportunity for an officer to commit acts of gross misconduct in the public domain may very well be aided by a failure of the mechanism of receiving and acting upon complaints from the public. In regards to the reporting of criminal or unethical activities by a police officer by the public, two factors come into play; the perception of the officer and that of the public regarding the role of the officer in maintaining law and order in the society; and the discretion of the officer when outside the precincts of the agency, for example during patrol [Lipsky 1980; Vila and Morris 1999; Maynard-Moody and Musheno 2000].
One might be tempted to advice for the reduction of the discretion and autonomy of a police officer so as to reduce the opportunity to commit acts of misconduct through increased control and supervision. This may however have an opposite effect as more of the perpetrators would be forced to be more secretive making such acts even more difficult to discover and remedy. Mechanisms have been developed to monitor the officer based on constant reviews by peers, supervisors and the civilian population served by the force [Maynard-Moody, et al. 2000]. This is where the issue of community policing come in; where the agency and the community have an intimate relationship aimed at reducing and preventing crime in the area under the agency; and making it easier for the civilian population to report police misconduct and to ensure that such officer are penalized for their actions. By the year 2000 according to one survey, up to 95% of police departments in the United States have a program equivalent to community policing.
Section C; Hypothesis
Numerous studies have been done to attempt and explain why a police officer would choose to engage in acts of misconduct in the workplace; some of the studies have been examined in the preceding portion. This study does not seek to repeat these exploratory studies since they have already identified the problem; on the contrary, it is aimed at gauging the factors stemming from personal issues from the officer and those attributed to the organization (either through police culture and/or working conditions).
By identifying where the major problem is, it will be much easier for reform processes to reduce and prevent misconduct to achieve better and faster results; and to prevent relapse to the old ways after the process has ended. By allowing police officers to gauge these two issues against each other, we will have a clear picture from an agency perspective of the problem of misconduct.
Hypothesis: The influence of the law enforcement agency has greater impact on the willingness and ability of a police officer to engage in acts of misconduct than personal inclinations or disinclinations.
Section D; Research design and methods
This study proposes to carry out a secondary analysis of a study performed by the National Institute of Justice. The data collected by the NIJ in their study was not randomly sampled; it was gathered from law enforcement agencies that agreed to participate in the study; and mainly from the agencies where the author had acquaintances and to the convenience of the author and the participants; thus this is a convenience sample. It is not clear from the sample description how many agencies accepted or declined to participate.
The study was carried out in the United States in agencies spanning eleven states that are not named for the purposes of maintaining anonymity guaranteed to each participant [Klockars et al, 2000]. The sampling unit for this study was an individual officer and the law enforcement agency. The fact that the data was not randomly sampled raises issues of internal validity selection bias and external validity. Therefore, statistical analysis cannot yield significance; and any outcome from the study cannot be safely projected to all law enforcement agencies in the country.
A total of 3,237 policemen representing thirty law enforcement organizations filled the survey instrument; the rate of response of the study was 55.5% [Klockars et al, 2000]. It would have been difficult to get reliable results from a study that required a person if they engaged in misconduct; by redirecting the questions in the instrument towards another hypothetical officer in a hypothetical scenario, the author managed to circumvent the issue of honesty.
The study has been the basis of other analyses that have generated descriptive papers on various aspects of criminal research. This study proposes to use advanced statistical tools to compare the factors of the agency and those of the individual in determining engagement in acts of misconduct.
The survey instrument use by Kolckars and colleagues (2000) consisted of eleven case scenarios that described a hypothetical officer engaging in activities that can be judged as misconduct; but whose seriousness ranged from mild to very offensive with several intermediate classes. The scenarios described taking of bribes, conflict of interest, stealing; and use of unwarranted or excessive force to a civilian during the course of duty [Klockars et al, 2000].
In our study, the independent variables; that is, the variables that are already known at the beginning of the study and cannot easily be altered by others include the size of the force and the complexity of the agency, duties assigned to the officer and being part of a specialized unit, prior knowledge of the code of conduct and ethics of the agency, rank of the officer and the period of service since being sworn in. The dependent variables, that is, that are dependent and vary on the individual responses include individual perception of level of standards and ethics of the force, perceived standards of fellow officers; and most important the set of factors between the agency and the individual inclinations that influences the commission of an act of misconduct. The control variable, that is, the one that is kept constant so as to least affect the outcome, is the rank and disciplinary state of the hypothetical officer in the study; that is five years of service with no prior disciplinary case.
This study proposes to differentiate and compare the factors that are classified as having originated from the individual and those stemming from the law enforcement agency that might drive such an officer towards misconduct. The data from the study will be put through advanced statistical analysis to determine the relationship between the variables in the study; the tools to be used are regression, cross-tabs and gamma.
In this study, multiple regressions will be used to gauge the relative strength of the relationship between the variables; which in turn will be detected by gamma. Additionally, the former will be very useful in predicting how the independent variables will behave in comparison to the dependent ones in the study.
For the purpose of proving our hypothesis, that the influence of the agency is greater than that of the individual in misconduct, we will have to answer the question whether there is a strong relationship between the character of the officer (that exist before and outside the nature of being a police officer), his attitude towards the code of ethics and misconduct and the willingness to commit the misconduct.
All of the actual analysis of the data will be done through Stata, a multi-purpose statistical software that can handle all the manipulations of data that will be required to come up with comprehensive result to show the relationship we are interested with.
The National Institute of Justice data
The NIJ has had good history of generating credible and relevant research material regarding criminal justice over the years; therefore, I am very confident that the findings that will be generated from this study will have similar credibility and relevance. Additionally, it will save vast amount of time and money that would have been spent in carrying out a similar study and at a similar scale.
The NIJ data is a great advantage to the study since it analyses the police officer at an individual level. Additionally, the data set is very big, this solves the issue of missing values as they will not have a big negative impact on the results at the end of the analysis. The huge volume of information regarding both the individual and the agency outlook of ethics and misconduct will be especially useful in our study; this is especially in the view that approximately 88 variables can be deduced from an initial analysis. Out of these, the variables appropriate to our study will be selected and an in-depth analysis done on them; the background information will be used to offer support and validity to our study. As mentioned before, the tools to be used for the analysis include regression and gamma. The latter gauges the relationship between the variables; while the former calculates the predictive power that the independent variables in relation to their dependent contemporaries. The use of these two tools together offers a sure way of understanding the relationships between the officer and his job; and how these relate to misconduct; all this will be drawn from the NIJ data whose scope cannot allow someone to see this relationship in its original status.
Various assumptions will be made regarding the data during the application of the statistical tools to the data; when doing the regression, will assume that the data has additivity and has minimum error of measurement. Other assumptions include a normal distribution of the data, non-recursivity, that multicollinearlity is not present, that the data is of interval level, the terms of error are normal and that the data is homoscedastic. When applying the gamma, the assumptions made include that the data is of ordinal level. However, we will not assume that the sample is randomly collected.
Since the data was collected through administration of questionnaires, it is in discrete form consisting of a Likert-type scale with five levels of responses for each question. However, so as to ensure maximum reliability of our findings, we will have to run the data through tests to ascertain normal distribution; these include the kurtosis and skew test. From here, progress can be made to the other levels of analysis.
The NIJ data targeted police officers of various ranks working in thirty law enforcement agencies all over the country; the outcome of the analysis of the data will be generalized to all the police officers in the whole country with the assumption that the primary data had maximum external validity.
This study will aim at achieving descriptive results that will not only show the various relationships within the agency that influence misconduct, but to describe in detail how each factor relates to the misconduct. It will show that a good number of police officers that are caught up in case of misconduct of any form enter the force with good moral intentions and a standard development of the moral standards. It will also show that the key determinant to whether an officer opts to engage in the misconduct is the way other officer conduct their affairs, if he is compelled to participate in such affairs by the peers or supervisors; and whether the officers’ fraternity is willing to report such acts. The study will also describe the relationship between the instance when reported, if the management is willing to institute penalties and their severity; and the willingness and ability of the officer to carry out the acts.
This study also recognizes that there are factors of an individual that can influence him to engage in misconduct. Some of these may stem from character, age, rank, dissatisfaction in the workplace, financial difficulties, inability to cope effectively with the high pressure and constant danger of police work and the perception of ethics, morals and severity of penalties of misconduct. This study recognizes that the factors leading a police officer to misconduct are a complex mixture of internal and external to the police officer at any one time.
As mentioned earlier, numerous other authors have analyzed the data collected by the National Institute of Justice; and from this, various parameters have been measured regarding the day to day functioning of an American police officer; especially on how they perceive their moral obligations to their fellow officers, their agency and the public whom they have sworn to protect. However, to the best of my knowledge, this will be the first descriptive study based on the data that will attempt to quantify the amount of influence that the various factors have on the officer in question.
The main motivation for this study is to be able to provide tools for the people managing and monitoring police officers on a day to day basis to allow them to prevent an officer from falling into the trap of misconduct. This is especially by the dismantling of structures in the force that encourage misconduct; and the changing of practices, traditions and unspoken codes that may abet the same.
The issue of police misconduct not only has the potential of severely harming an innocent civilian through commission or omission by the offending officer; it also puts his or her colleagues in danger if such act were to compromise the integrity of sensitive investigations. Additionally, when these acts come into the public domain, the image of the whole force is severely damaged; causing attrition of the relationship between the law enforcement agencies and the community which they serve; it is a well known fact that law enforcement is very difficult if the community always views the force with suspicion. Finally, when we show that agency issues have a bigger influence on the misconduct practices of a police officer, then the natural conclusion is that over the years the force has been loosing many dedicated officer through dismissal and/or imprisonment while the same would have followed the narrow path of integrity if the conditions at the workplace would have been favorable.
It is therefore absolutely necessary to carry out this study to enable the relevant bodies to stem the problem of police misconduct at the root rather than having a reactionary policy of instituting reforms when the damage has already been done.
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Hypothetical case situations for assessment
Case 1. A police officer runs his own private business in which he sells and installs security devices, such as alarms, special locks, etc. He does this work during his off-duty hours.
Case 2. A police officer routinely accepts free meals, cigarettes, and other items of small value from merchants on his beat. He does not solicit these gifts and is careful not to abuse the generosity of those who give gifts to him.
Case 3. A police officer stops a motorist for speeding. The officer agrees to accept a personal gift of half of the amount of the fine in exchange for not issuing a citation.
Case 4. A police officer is widely liked in the community, and on holidays local merchants and restaurant and bar owners show their appreciation for his attention by giving him gifts of food and liquor.
Case 5. A police officer discovers a burglary of a jewelry shop. The display cases are smashed, and it is obvious that many items have been taken. While searching the shop, he takes a watch, worth about 2 days’ pay for that officer.
He reports that the watch had been stolen during the burglary.
Case 6. A police officer has a private arrangement with a local auto body shop to refer the owners of cars damaged in accidents to the shop. In exchange for each referral, he receives payment of 5 percent of the repair bill from the shop owner.
Case 7. A police officer, who happens to be a very good auto mechanic, is scheduled to work during coming holidays. A supervisor offers to give him these days off, if he agrees to tune up his supervisor’s personal car. Evaluate the supervisor’s behavior.
Case 8. At 2:00 a.m., a police officer, who is on duty, is driving his patrol car on a deserted road. He sees a vehicle that has been driven off the road and is stuck in a ditch. He approaches the vehicle and observes that the driver is not hurt but is obviously intoxicated. He also finds that the driver is a police officer.
Instead of reporting this accident and offense, he transports the driver to his home.
Case 9. A police officer finds a bar on his beat that is still serving drinks a half-hour past its legal closing time. Instead of reporting this violation, the police officer agrees to accept a couple of free drinks from the owner.
Case 10. Two police officers on foot patrol surprise a man who is attempting to break into an automobile. The man flees. They chase him for about two blocks before apprehending him by tackling him and wrestling him to the ground. After he is under control, both officers punch him a couple of times in the stomach as punishment for fleeing and resisting.
Case 11. A police officer finds a wallet in a parking lot. It contains an amount of money equivalent to a full day’s pay for that officer. He reports the wallet as lost property but keeps the money for himself.
Case scenario assessment options
1. How serious do YOU consider this behavior to be?
–1 (Not at all serious)
–5 (Very serious)
2. How serious do MOST POLICE OFFICERS IN YOUR AGENCY consider this behavior to be?
–1 (Not at all serious)
–5 (Very serious)
3. Would this behavior be regarded as a violation of official policy in your agency?
–1 (Definitely not)
–5 (Definitely yes)
4. If an officer in your agency engaged in this behavior and was discovered doing so, what if any discipline do YOU think SHOULD follow?
–2. VERBAL REPRIMAND
–3. WRITTEN REPRIMAND
–4. PERIOD OF SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY
–5. DEMOTION IN RANK
5. If an officer in your agency engaged in this behavior and was discovered doing so, what (if any) discipline do YOU think WOULD follow?
–2. VERBAL REPRIMAND
–3. WRITTEN REPRIMAND
–4. PERIOD OF SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY
–5. DEMOTION IN RANK
6. Do you think YOU would report a fellow police officer who engaged in this behavior?
–1 (Definitely not)
–5 (Definitely yes)
7. Do you think MOST POLICE OFFICERS IN YOUR AGENCY would report a fellow police officer who engaged in this behavior?
–1 (Definitely not)
–5 (Definitely yes)