The Dirty Harry Problem - Essay Example

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This type of corruption can be as serious as the Rodney King beating to a frivolous taking of a free soda or cup of coffee. The Rodney King incident was instigated at first by Rodney King running from the…
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The Dirty Harry Problem
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The "Dirty Harry" Problem There is an amount of unchecked corruption in police departments. This type of corruption can be as serious as the RodneyKing beating to a frivolous taking of a free soda or cup of coffee. The Rodney King incident was instigated at first by Rodney King running from the police. However, once the police officers had King contained on the ground they still proceeded to beat and kick him. Pollock (2004) agrees, “Police have an uncontested right to use force when necessary to apprehend and/or subdue a suspect of a crime.” That beating after King was controlled is an example of police misconduct and corruption. Rodney King was filmed being beaten, but how many more suffered from these corrupt cops when the camera was not on? Police corruption is a misuse of power.
Police become corrupt for different reasons. Pollock (2004) states, “Explanations of corruption can be describes as individual, institutional (or organizational), and systematic (or societal).” Some people are good and other bad. The same can be said about law enforcement officers. Just like a bully can influence other children, corrupt police officers can influence good officers. Pollock also believes that another reason for corruption is the lack of proper recruiting methods.
Law enforcement that murder, deal in drugs, and other illegal activities are corrupt. These types of police officers are the individuals that make the news reports. Like was suggested above, law enforcement that participate in these type of behaviors were already inclined to commit crime or feel peer pressure. Either way, police recruiting techniques need to be refined to catch these recruits before they become police officer, not after.
Not every instance of police corruption is severe. Pollock (2004) reports, “Corruption, theft, graft (exploitation of one’s role, such as accepting bribes or protection money), and accepting other gratuities (such as free coffee and free or half-priced meals),” can be considered as corruption or delinquency. Some police officers feel it is only fair they get free coffee, donuts, or other perks, since they put their lives on the line everyday. However, if one follows that line of reasoning then soldiers should get free perks as well. With the high number of law enforcement officers and soldiers if everyone got perks, then our society would soon become bankrupt.
The Blue Wall is another issue that law enforcement and the community must deal with. “One of the most difficult ethical dilemmas that officers confront is when faced with the wrongdoing of another officer.” Testifying or informing against a fellow officer is not looked on positively. The Internal Affairs units set up by local police agencies have detectives that are shunned by fellow law enforcement. Without informants that are police officers, then only criminal elements are left. In society individuals are taught to believe police officers, not criminals. That is why corrupt police target criminal victims.
Public perception helps corrupt police thrive. Pollock (2004) reports “As long as the public relays a message that crime control is more important than individual liberties and rights, then we should not be surprised when police act on that message.” Society believes that criminals need to be stopped at any cost. For example going back to Rodney King, most of the population (white) thought if King would have stopped or not been high then the event would not have happened. King deserved to be beat because he was a criminal. With attitudes like that no wonder there are corrupt law enforcement officers.

Pollock, Joycelyn M. Ethics in Crime & Justice. Read More
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