Corruption is an illegal and harmful act that destroys companies, organizations, and countries. Corruption is especially dangerous in organizations that maintain order and safety in society, such as the police, courts, or politics. However, despite the apparent harms of corruption, the variety of types that it includes raises ethical dilemmas for some people of power. Nevertheless, since, in most cases, corruption is definitely illegal and unethical, the task of Law Enforcement is to stop this practice. Methods that can help prevent agency and police corruption include investigating citizens’ claims, checking documents, and paying attention to the work and finances of people in authority.
Corruption is a problem that arises from the power of authorities. Although this phenomenon can be defined in different ways, the essence of corruption is that a person who occupies an authoritative position uses their power to achieve personal gain at the expense of the public (Pollock, 2019). In general, one can divide corruption into economic and abuse of power. The first type is directly related to financial benefits and can manifest itself both in receiving gratitude, bribes, or protection of money (Pollock, 2019). While bribes and protection of money are definitely unethical as they lead to inequality and hiding criminal activities, gratitude can raise ethical dilemmas. For example, giving a discount to police officers may be a sign of respect for the profession, but at the same time, this step provides additional security for the cafe, since there are always police officers in it.
A similar situation also applies to abuse of power by the police. For example, 9 percent of civilians reported sexual misconduct by police officers, and about 8 percent of officers drink alcohol at work (Pollock, 2019). These manifestations of corruption, as well as the use of power to participate in criminal activities, are unethical and illegal. However, ticket-fixing for a colleague can be in a gray area if the officer is aware of personal reasons that could lead to a violation of the rules. Thus, this case shows that while corruption in most events is unethical, illegal, and destructive, sometimes it can refer to ethically difficult situations.
Nevertheless, police corruption is dangerous, undermining public confidence, and costly, which requires action to eliminate it. As the example of Robeson County demonstrates, corruption can reach significant proportions if the authorities have freedom but not enough control (Crawford, 2017). For this reason, one of the methods should be to control the records of agencies and police stations. The narrator says that the check showed a lack of order in the precinct, where weapons, drugs, and evidence lay without labels, and documents were forged (Crawford, 2017). This absence of a system made it possible for officers to steal and cover up criminals. However, if all the evidence was organized and the reports were available for verification, this would not be possible. Consequently, transparent documentation is a necessary method of combating corruption.
Moreover, there should also be control over the financial activities and working methods of people in authority. As Crawford (2017) shows, viewing Robeson County officers’ financial activities would have helped detect corruption earlier, since they spent significant sums that people of their position could not earn. In an age of automation, this data is easier to verify and more challenging to hide, giving the advantage to control authorities. Nevertheless, this approach does not provide an absolutely accurate result, which requires observation and analysis. However, such monitoring is most effective in detecting cases of corruption on a large scale.
In addition, the investigation of the citizens’ statements is also a necessity in the fight against corruption because ordinary people are usually victims of abuse of power. Often people are afraid to report police officers because of the feeling of lack of influence and the threat of facing the consequences and revenge. Consequently, a statement from citizens is a serious reason for the investigation of the case. However, the most important is that anti-corruption policies should be supported and promoted by agency leaders because the hierarchy of government bodies most often helps corruption if it starts from the top. Victims’ statements of power abuse, document forgery, and tax evasion can go unnoticed if the people with the most power cover up violations. Thus, all the measures described may be useless if the top managers or officers allow corruption in their organizations.
Therefore, authorities’ corruption must be stopped by means of observation, reporting, and control. These steps will help identify and prevent serious crimes that affect individuals and the community as a whole. At the same time, education and leadership will enable officers to avoid corruption in ethically challenging situations. In this way, the authorities will be able to gain the trust of citizens, increase their cooperation, and develop a safe and stable society.
Crawford, J, (2017). Tarnished badge (30:44). YouTube. Web.
Pollock, J. M. (2019). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice (10th ed.). Cengage Learning.