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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 192296 Find in a Library
Title: Historical Perspectives of Police Misconduct (From Policing and Misconduct, P 27-53, 2002, Kim Michelle Lersch, ed. -- see NCJ-192294)
Author(s): Kenneth Bolton Jr.
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice Hall Publishing
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice Hall Publishing
Criminal Justice and Police Training
1 Lake Street
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After outlining the social processes and factors identified by scholars as influencing both the normative and nonnormative behavior of police officers, this chapter presents an analytical model of the dimensions of police misconduct and concludes by considering past and currently proposed solutions to police misconduct in the context of this model.
Abstract: The first section discusses the social processes and factors identified by scholars as important in shaping the behavior of police officers. One factor involves structural economic conditions. The historical record clearly shows that policing and the unequal treatment of people of African descent by police has developed hand in hand as a legitimated means of protecting the interests of those with economic and political power. Responses by members of African-American communities to this treatment and to their relationship with police agencies set the context for much of policing in the mid to late 20th century. History shows that the more insulated police agencies and officers are from the populations they police, the more efficiently policing protects the economic interests of elite groups. Also, throughout the 20th century, power struggles between political leaders at the varying levels of government, legislatures, and appointed commissions over the control of policing have been responsible for setting the tone for police activities. Ideological influences constitute another factor in police misconduct. Police officers, like other members of society, have learned to accept sexist and racist ideologies that influence priorities and strategies for policing. Regarding the administration of policing, the tension between professional expertise and public control over the police and their activities continues to form one of the fundamental problems of policing. Further, officer misconduct is fostered by the organization and administration of police agencies; however, as the organization gives rise to a subculture, that group further promotes misconduct. The countering of police misconduct is a complex endeavor, since it is woven into the economic, political, and ideological contexts of a society. Ultimately, members of the public must act collectively to define and reduce unacceptable police behavior. 64 references
Main Term(s): Police misconduct
Index Term(s): Economic influences; History of policing; Police attitudes; Police corruption; Police corruption causes; Police subculture; Police-minority relations; Political influences; Professional conduct and ethics; Public Opinion of the Police; Racial discrimination
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