The Law Enforcement Deviance

Police deviance comprises all activities committed by police officer(s) that are incompatible with societal values, ethics and norms. A deviant act undermines the sanctity as well as integrity of the police force, leaving the general public free to contemplate about the sacredness of policing profession.

Numerous forms of police deviance are cited in the Rampart Report. Among them is police brutality. In one incident, two suspected gang members were detained by officers Daniel Lujan and Brian Hewitt for suspected parole violations (Rampart Report, 2000). The two were taken to Rampart substation and one of them was allegedly beaten and choked by Hewitt to an extent of vomiting blood because he declined to cooperate. Besides, another form of police deviance depicted in this first incident is blue wall of stillness or silence. This is because officer Lujan knew about the brutality against the suspect and never reported to the authority. Furthermore, his silence on the issue made the suspect to be released with no medical treatment (Rampart Report, 2000). Both keeping quiet and brutality are deviant behaviors, as they do not subscribe to the culture and ethics of the police force.

Police perjury is another form of police deviance cited in Rampart Independent report. This is where police officer(s) engage in corrupt acts, which include omitting certain essential information in an attempt or effort to compromise a criminal prosecution (OConnor, 2005). Other actors in police perjury include judges and supervisors, they are frequently aware of this form of deviance. However, always pretend to trust each and every word coming from police officers (OConnor, 2005). Police perjury is cited as one of deviance in Rampart report where Rafael Perez pled guilty and made a number of allegations, which included delivering of fake police reports, false imprisonment and fabrication of evidence. In one instance, Perez said that him together with other officers shot and wounded unarmed suspects, then delayed to call an ambulance to allow time for story formulation (Rampart Review, 2000).

There are several reasons as well as explanations as to why police officers become defiant to the laws they are supposed to enforce. Factors, such as group dynamic, police culture and organized crime can result in police deviance. Group dynamic is an important factor which can aggravate acts of deviant in the police force (Dempsey and Forst, 2007). For example, new recruits joining police need to conform or adhere to illegal norms practiced there to be accepted as bonafide members of the group. The recruits are as well told to immediately shun legal and theoretical knowledge acquired during training and then instigated into informal system (Dempsey and Forst, 2007).

That aside, police culture is known to foster secrecy, cynicism and solidarity.  Thus, the rules of silence and group solidarity make it difficult for internal exposure of deviance (Dempsey and Forst, 2007. The honest police officers keep evidences to themselves for fear of breaking the rules of solidarity and code of secrecy. The attitudes and relationship of police officers with organized crime can exacerbate deviance significantly. When there is a close positive relationship, chances are that officers may be lured in criminal acts, thus breaching the law they supposed to defend. Low or poor managerial visibility is another factor that condones deviant in the police force. The negligent indulgency patterns of lax management in the force, with feeble supervision and low control over officers activities is seen as a major deviant stimulant (Forst and Dempsey, 2007).

Several ideas and factors need to be considered in order to curb and act against deviant to save the prospect police officers (Mathewson, 2008). Sturdy managerial supervision by concern stakeholders, early warning signs and discipline must be designed to assist eliminate deviance in the police department. Besides, policing management or administration need to enforce strict regulations and training techniques, which allow egalitarianism and fairness to general public. In doing so, the skills acquired will help eradicate a number of brutal acts committed by police officers, thereby restoring the lost integrity, sanctity and glory in the police force (Mathewson, 2008).  The code of secrecy or silence in police force needs to be observed by police administrators as an archaic or outdated way of determining loyalty among police officers. This is because in most cases its employed by several honest officers as a pivotal instrument to protect their defiant colleagues. Officer Lujan employed this particular code of silence to protect officer Hewitt after he allegedly choked a suspect and further released him devoid of medical treatment (Rampart Review, 2000).

In conclusion, police officers operate or work under stipulated rules and regulations that guide them to their demanding profession. The setback is that they are humans just like anyone else and thus sometimes are overwhelmed by temptation while attempting to execute their duties. A number of deviant behaviors which officers succumb to are mostly induced by some factors beyond their control, including misplaced codes, such as code of secrecy or silence. Therefore, to reduce the rate of police deviance, several measures should be put in place to address contributing factors, such group dynamics, poor or low managerial visibility and outdated, archaic or uncouth code of ethics.


Post a Comment