Research Proposal on Police Corruption

Research Proposal on Police Corruption Essay


Police corruption is an ugly phenomenon that has crippled progress in the social well-being of most United States of America citizens. Corruption is a vice that knows no mercy. The innocent populations are the ones who suffer the most from acts of this disgusting practice. Unfortunately, those entrusted with the responsibility of eradicating this criminal activity are its major agents.

In American society, police officers are respected right from the moment they put on their distinct uniforms. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents enjoy even more respect than their other law enforcement officials. Shockingly, the majority of these honored professionals are the main sources of societal decadence due to their evil acts of corruption and other indescribable criminal offenses.

FBI officials sometimes get the rare opportunity of checking the behavior of other law enforcement agents. It sounds like a joke to anyone familiar with the rotten characters of some of these federal agents. They get the chance to interact with the police who do exactly what they also do whenever they get such a chance. In short, a hyena stands as the judge in a case where a wolf is a defendant and the goat is the plaintiff. Does anyone expect justice in such a proceeding? The answer is a big NO.

In matters of justice, there is always a need for total professionalism and adherence to the available ethical standards and code of conduct on those entrusted with the duty of facilitating that course. In this country, the United States of America, members in uniform are among the chosen few who ought to enforce the law. People, of all age groups and gender, look upon these people for the restoration of sanity in their societies. They are the ones who have the instruments and the power to maintain law and order. This is only a dream, in real life. What the officers think about every time they report on duty is how much they can manage to take home at the end of it. They are willing to engage in all manner of corrupt activities without a clue of what the law and society expect of them.

Perhaps, there is a lack of proper checks and balances on the integrity of police officers. From a different angle, one would see this in terms of the weaknesses existing in the measures in place to check on such unacceptable behaviors of law enforcement agents. Alternatively, those individuals or institutions who have the mandate of keeping an eye on these rogue officials have failed in their duty (Vicchio, 1997).

In this paper, I will investigate incidents with reliance on several earlier recorded incidents. These will include the Knapp commission which made landmark inquiries into cases of police corruption in the United States New York City.

Besides that, I will have to refer to the United States Institute of Peace with the specific intent to know the observations of the special report by David Bayley and Robert Perito. They made observations of police corruption beyond the borders of the United States that involved the United States American police officers in their duties in international assignments.

Additionally, I wish to rely on the observations made by Rich Martin of the Rochester Police Department of New York and his proposed ways of dealing with police corruption. He believes in the integrity and moral standards among law enforcement agents as the main ways of controlling their conduct and maintaining high professional standards.

Finally, there is an article by the Associated Press that I cannot fail to acknowledge. It sheds light on the serious corruption incidents police officers engage in along the borders of the United States and its neighbors. One area is notorious, the though-the border between the United States and Mexico.

With the four cases under review, I believe that strong evidence already exists making the practice of corruption within law enforcement agencies a reality. This, in effect, calls for urgent measures to deal with the vice.

American society needs no element of corruption to realize its objective of prospering in its lives. The American dream will never come to pass with such activities of corruption in ventures seeking to empower common citizens, and in matters regarding the administration of justice. Police are known for their efforts to hinder any straightforward ways of judicial cases thus rendering them unproductive to the victims of all sorts of injustices within the American setting.

Background and Significance

Media reports have been at the forefront in highlighting the corruption culture and the ineffectiveness of the Detroit Police Department. This has gone on for not less than twenty years up to this present moment.

Because of such reports from media agencies, there have been detrimental effects on the image of the entire Detroit Police Department as well as the general Detroit community. People, especially the innocent ones, have suffered at the hands of uncouth police officers with no one or office ever administering any form of justice for the victims.

The FBI seems to have focused its energies on the Detroit Police Department. However, over twenty years of such work without any tangible outcome leaves people with a lot of questions that need answers. If they cannot deal with corruption cases involving the Police Force in one state, how can they handle the other cases in other states? The answer is simple: the Federal Bureau of Investigations agents are inadequate. They do not have the inner motivation to deal with the cases because, to a great extent, most of the issues raised may involve some of them.

At one point in the year 2003, Deputy Chief of Detroit Police Department, Gary Brown, remarked that twenty-five to fifty of his department would face indictments in a year. What did that mean to the entire Detroit Police Department? It was for worry and great concern to all stakeholders at the national and regional levels. This meant the entire Police Department’s rating in terms of integrity measures scored the lowest.

Quite unbelievably, it emerged that the officers would be indicted by the federal Grand Juries. Surprisingly, the investigative wing of the Grand Juries comprised the federal bureau of Investigation agents. With these federal officials involved, would anyone expect any justice to take its course? There were doubts and more doubts about the FBI getting a very serious role to play without any supervisory role from an independent third party.

Literature review

A lot of studies have taken place in respect of this touching subject of police corruption. Some people have done research work to determine the gravity of the activity’s impact on people. Other researchers have been able to give recommendations that may or may not have been implemented.  Some institutions and individuals have taken the initiative to address this vice through their verbal communication and other forms. All these, ultimately, intends to help achieve the goal of integrity among different professional, especially those charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law.

Special Reports on Corruption

Knapp Commission Report on Police Corruption (Knapp Commission, 1972): This report details grave corruption activities aggravated by members of the police department. It focused mainly on the investigation of the police department in New York City.

After massive corruption claims against the police and a commission of inquiry, the government constituted a commission to check into those claims and make the necessary recommendations.

In its report, the commission led by Knapp Whitman established that corruption in the police department had categories. The first acquired the name “grass eaters” who were small officers that benefited less from the activities of corruption. The other category was “meat eaters” which consisted of top officers that took the lion’s share.

Recommendations from the Knapp commission came out. They mainly pointed to the fact that the top officers had the responsibility of curbing the crime. They recommended that the officers in top command be held responsible and accountable for such cases.

The United States Institute of Peace Initiative (Bayley & Perito, 2011): this was a special report by David Bayley and Robert Perito. They examined the concept of corruption and related it to the entire culture of police officials.

In their observations, they reveal that police corruption is not only a local case but also an international affair affecting the United States’ image. They narrate how police officers engage in corruption cases during their peace missions in foreign countries including Afghanistan and others where the American forces have their bases.

Arrests of Corrupt Police Officers

Arrests of Corrupt U.S. Border Police (Associated Press, 2009): the Associated Press also made its observations known through an article.

They revealed several cases in which police officers came under arrest for serious cases of corruption. This, usually, took place on the border of the United States and Mexico. Drug traffickers bribed police officers and got the leeway to conduct their business unchecked.

Besides, the officers on the borders engaged in corrupt activities that gave illegal immigrants a chance to get to their destinations without trouble. Although many United States Officials point fingers at their Mexican neighbors, the Associated Press established that this is not an isolated case of Mexican police Officials. Their officers participated actively in the perpetration of illegal activities.

Police Ethics

Police Corruption: an Analytical Look into Police Ethics (Rich, N.D.): Martin Rich is an officer with the Rochester Police department in New York. He also works as an instructor of Criminal Justice at Keuka College.

In his article, Rich emphasizes leadership and integrity among law enforcement agents as key pillars toward the eradication of vice. According to him, proper structures coming into place would help deal with this unacceptable act of corruption.

Rich says that police integrity cannot be ignored. He argues that the ethical standards and measures instituted must define ethics in terms of integrity. This is because, to a large extent, corruption is deeply rooted among officers with low integrity standards. If mechanisms could be put in place to ensure recruited as police officers have high integrity then cases of corruption would be minimal.

On leadership, Rich Martin observes that leadership in the police department plays a very major role in the sustenance of the vice. He believes that leadership is reckless, which is why they cannot control the other officers lower in rank. Police department officials also engage in such activities.

He concludes that to prevent cases of police corruption, leadership in the department must be sound and of integrity. He also recommends that the general culture could be used as a tool for sustaining a culture of morality and ethical living. He believes that American society is very intolerant of cases of corruption due to its markedly negative impact on the people, especially, ordinary citizens.


Generally, traditional research methodology will play a crucial role in the formulation of this piece of work. At some point, it will be necessary to observe and seek personal views on the sensitive issue of police corruption. This is not going to be done in exclusion of the perspective of individuals on the FBI’s role in fighting the vice.

I will search the report by the Knapp Commission thoroughly since it provides a lot of information that is vital for the completion of this paper. I will look for a copy of this relevant report from the Wayne State University Library.

With the current trends in technology, The Internet could not be left out. Greatly useful material came from the internet. Using this means as a source of information, a lot of detailed facts came up about the FBI misconduct, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the department of Justice Misconduct of the year 1998, and other relevant details.


I anticipate the transformation of the police department. This shall come true with sound policies that will result from the adoption of the recommendations in respect of my research work.

There will be real change the people of the United States have been waiting for for over very many decades.  This is what every American national would want.

My main task throughout this paper will be to bring out the graveness of corruption in the police force. It will also be my major task to demonstrate the inadequacy of the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ credibility in the fight against this evil activity. I do believe that through the above procedures and observations, my work will be a reliable piece of information that requires serious attention.

In my quest to uncover the real shocking acts, I intend to use several credible sources that will mostly give substantiated claims and accusations against the law enforcement agents under discussion. These will come mainly from the internet I consider to be easily accessible to me. Some other sources, including books, will be from the university library as well as personal reading materials that I possess.

I, therefore, purpose to discard any unreliable materials that I will consider unsuitable for my research. It is inevitable to come across some materials that may have a toward for the mere dislike of the law enforcement agents in question. I anticipate stumbling upon such materials, especially, from the internet. This will help me to make sensible conclusions about the character and integrity of the two agencies and come up with recommendations that befit the subject in context.

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