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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 151019 Find in a Library
Title: Social Context of Police Lying (From Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction, P 153-169, 1994, Patricia A and Peter Adler, eds. -- See NCJ-151012)
Author(s): J Hunt; P K Manning
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Wadsworth Publishing Co
Belmont, CA 94002
Sale Source: Wadsworth Publishing Co
20 Davis Drive
Belmont, CA 94002
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Ethnographic materials were used to examine the cultural basis of police lying in a large, metropolitan police department; continuous fieldwork over an 18-month period focused on differences and similarities in the socialization experiences of young police officers.
Abstract: Fieldwork included observations, participation in training with a incoming police academy class, and recorded interviews in an informal setting with key informants selected for their verbal skills and willingness to give lengthy interviews. An attempt was made to integrate pressures inherent in the inevitable negotiation that occurs within hierarchical systems between official expectations and roles and one's individual sense of self. It was found that police officers learned to define and control the public and other police officers and to negotiate meanings. Social constructions or lies resulted from the situational integration of organizational, political, and moral pressures which were not easily captured in rules, norms, and values. Repeatedly, police officers had to negotiate organizational realities and maintain self-worth. Police lies, serving in part to maintain a viable self, were surrounded by cultural assumptions and designations, a social context which defined normal or acceptable lies and distinguished them from deviant or marginal lies. The extent to which police organizations used or depended on lies concerned the perception of being "under siege." Case stories revealed that lying was sometimes used to gain a conviction in court and involved the construction of probable cause for arrest or search and seizure in situations where the legally required basis was weak or absent. Police officers also used cover stories based on subcultural nuances to make the dynamics of encounters legally rational. 45 references and 10 notes
Main Term(s): Police misconduct
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Deviance; Police organizational structure; Self concept; Socialization; Sociological analyses
Note: Reprinted from Symbolic Interaction, V 14, N 1 (1991)
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