An Essay on Law Enforcement Deviance

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The consequences of this deviance by the Los Angeles Police Department will be felt for many years as the public struggles to regain trust and the department struggles to regain credibility. Forms of police Deviance The use of excessive force and evidence planting are two forms of police deviance that are cited in the Rampart Independent Review. These acts of deviance are not exclusive to the Los Angeles Police Department, as there have been many occurrences nationwide regarding the use of unnecessary force and interfering with or planting evidence by police. Excessive use of force continues to be a major problem today. One of the most notorious cases of excessive use of force by officers was the case involving Rodney King. The Rodney King case not only contained excessive use of force, but also the falsifying of police reports (Mangan, 2000). The Los Angeles Police Department’s supervisors and officers downplayed the injuries to King as minor scrapes and bruises. The police officers involved in the beating reported that King confronted officers, resisted, and increased his level of resistance. A different story, however, is shown by the video. King is seen in a vulnerable position on his hands and knees as officers circle him and beat him repeatedly with their batons (Mangan, 2000). The two officers were found guilty, and the other two were acquitted. Police brutality has been a growing issue over the years, with police feeling like they are above the law and insinuating that criminals have no rights hence the brutal beating. There could be no possibly good reason to beat people especially when they are unarmed and handcuffed. Another law enforcement deviant behavior exposed by the Rampart Review is the abuse of drugs by law enforcement officers. In a particular example, a police officer accused several of his colleagues of taking drugs. In the Boston Globe was found that about 75 police officers did not pass any drug tests. For those that failed the test, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana were some of the drugs found in their tests. Of the 9354 people employed by the police force, 14 officers have failed drug tests since the year 2000 (Smalley, 2006). Reasons behind the deviant behavior by law enforcement officers Reasons cited in the Rampart Review about the law enforcers’ deviant behaviors are varied. One of the reasons given is the desire for the LAPD to get high marks for the declining crime statistics, possibly pushed by the officer’s leadership. Based on the claim that crime in Rampart area declined from about 1000 instances to fewer than 500 indicates this possibility. Another possible reason could be the lure of cash confiscated in drug busts. Normally, a police officer in Los Angeles earns an average of $42,000 (Indeed.com, 2009). Drug raids confiscate between tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. The officers could be tempted to look for ways of keeping these funds for themselves. Once a police officer starts down slippery slope of theft and perjury, it is usually very difficult to find a firm footing. Many officers may find themselves continually trying cover their tracks until the point at which they hurt a civilian who may have too much information concerning their deviant behavior.

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