Social Issues / Corruption Within The Criminal Justice System

Corruption Within The Criminal Justice System

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Autor:  anton  20 December 2010
Tags:  Corruption,  Within,  Criminal,  Justice,  System
Words: 3744   |   Pages: 15
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Corruption within the Criminal Justice System

I have always had a strong passion for the criminal justice system especially

policing. Even as a student at Jessie Jensen Elementary I remember picking police

officers for Career Day. However, my admiration for police officers has become pure

disappointment. Corruption has become a major issue within police departments.

Unfortunately more and more police officers are being lured into committing corrupt

acts. Although corruption with in the criminal justice system has always been around, it

is now more evident than ever.

Policing in the United States has been around since the early nineteenth century

(Siegal and Senna 154). Even in the early nineteenth century corruption with in the police

department was already a rising issue (Siegal and Senna 154). It is now becoming a major issue that continues to worsen. As we all know police officers are very closely involved with the citizens of our community, but I ask myself how close is to close? Police officers are now

betraying their badges with the help of corrupt local citizens by committing the corrupt act of

drug smuggling.

In St. Louis, Bruce Gales, owner of a towing company, and Sergeant Christopher

Cornell were indicted on multiple charges in the distribution of approximately 120

kilograms and about $ 2.4 million in drug proceeds (“Owner of Wellston Towing”)

Police officers should be setting the example for the citizens by not joining in and bringing more corruption to the police departments. Sergeant Cornell was misguided into crossing the line of crime which caused him to end up throwing his career away, and facing prison time. Sergeant Cornell punishment was only ten years in prison with the privilege of parole. That punishment was definitely not stiff enough especially for the crime he committed. Sergeant Cornell will only spend five out of those ten years in prison since he was awarded parole and will do the other five years out of prison. In order to stop the corruption within police department the legislature has to

create harsher penalties on police officers who decide to break the law so the police officers can learn their lesson. Making harsher penalties would stop the problem right where it begins. When police officers view the harsh penalties that are being put on their co-workers they will not even think about risking their careers by committing the same corrupt acts.

A reason for so much corruption within police department is that police

officers are taking advantage of their position as law enforcers in an informal manner. Police

officers assume that just because they have authority it gives them the right to do as they please. Some police officers walk around with their hands on their waist, this body language is a reflection on how police officers feel so powerful since they have a gun on one side of their waist and a pair of hand cuffs on the other side. Police officers then use there position to intimidate, or bring fear upon people. For instance in Ukraine three police officers, who held top position in the Kerch police department, were the main men for supplying drugs to strong criminal gangs (“Three policemen”). The most depressing thing was that these police men where actively involved in an organization that was against drug trafficking (“Three policemen”). When I read this article I was extremely disappointed I could not believe it, how could someone who is preaching against the stop of drug trafficking be the one who is involved in such act, especially a police officer. Police officers should use their position as an advantage to stop drug trafficking not to promote it or even worse be involved in it. Supplying drugs while being a law enforcer to strong criminal gangs is extremely unacceptable and should not be tolerated and as law enforcers you need to set an example of being a crime fighter. If police officers were to follow their motto “To Serve and Protect” thoroughly there would not be so much corruption.

In addition, it is not only in Ukraine were police officers are despicably using their status

to help smuggle drugs; in Chicago what has become a major issue as well: “Four veterans from the police department of Chicago were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine” (“Four Chicago police officers”) The police men would use their positions as police officers as an advantage to run various searches on drug dealers, in an effort to recover illegal drugs, money, and weapons for their own benefit rather than for legitimate law enforcement purposes (“Four Chicago police officers”). It is obvious that police officers are using their jobs as law enforcers to obtain illegal items and are shamefully betraying their police departments. The policemen who were involved in this drug smuggle were veterans. When people think of veterans, whether it be a veteran of war or a veteran of a police department, we think of someone who has devoted many years, served and been loyal to the service. People have admiration for veterans and recognize them for being committed to the service as well as being faithful to every year they have been involved in it. Now the four veteran police officers from Chicago will be spending time in prison instead of adding more years to the service of policing. Those years that the veteran police officers were dedicated to the policing is now history, they could have helped lower crime rates in Chicago, but instead they are facing prison time.

So much corruption within police departments also affects the public view on

policing. Police officers play a huge role in the communities, especially in schools. I remember having the D.A.R.E program all through elementary along with Red Ribbon Week. These programs were presented by police officers and other officials who made students aware of the consequences drugs had on a person and the mental and physical effects they could bring upon a person. I remember always sitting in the first row of the bleachers in the gym and devoted all my attention to the police officers as they said “Say no to Drugs” and “Stay in school cause that is cool.” I have always had a strong admiration for those policemen that attended the drug

awareness programs. I, unlike many of my friends, followed along with the advice they gave and did not experiment with drugs. Even in high school I refused to try drugs. Most of my friends did it to try to fit in and look cool, but the speeches that were given to me by those police officers helped me fight off the peer pressure. At the time I was younger and not aware of so much corruption with in police departments. If corruption continues the public will have a negative view on police officers causing friction between citizens and police officers. Police officers and citizens should have good communication between them (Siegal and Senna 160). Police officers need citizens when trying to crack down on cases by using the public’s tips, or being a witness to an incident. As citizens, we also need police officers to file a report, to help us when in a difficult situation, or to report suspicious illegal acts like drug smuggling. If the public keeps being exposed to all the corruption by the police officers they will no longer trust them, let alone have any respect for police officers.

Even the worlds greatest police department in Los Angeles is now suffering from so much corruption (Global 1). Los Angeles Police Department lowered their policing standards to have a diverse police department (Golab 4). Having the standards lowered so the minorities would be able to apply also meant not paying much attention to their background checks. Background checks are very common and important in police departments and help figure out if you have been arrested or are linked to any criminal activities. The Los Angeles Police Department could have also run lie detective test on the police officers to be able to hire officers with good intentions. These solutions have to be incorporated by police departments in order to hire a police officer who is adequately fulfilling their duties, but the Los Angeles police department did not dot follow those requirements. The Los Angeles Police Department hired policemen who were linked to criminal gangs, had a criminal record, and were smuggling drugs (Golab 5). The corruption within police department is taking a toll on the reputations of police departments.

Although corruption within police departments seems to be a major concern in larger cities it has also began to target smaller areas like the Rio Grande Valley. The Rio Grande Valley is a small area which would give the impression of a safe place where drug

smuggling would not be common. The McAllen Police Department has had a history of drug

smuggling. Drug smuggling in the McAllen Police Department first took place in the 1980’s.

Chief police officer Brig Marmolejo was caught smuggling drugs across the border into

Reynosa, Mexico. Then Sergeant Gene Falcon also from the McAllen Police Department was

involved in drug smuggling and bribery. Now Francisco Meza, a former McAllen police officer

charged with drug smuggling escaped from East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa

(Martinez). Francisco Meza was awaiting trail for being charged with: conspiracy to distribute

marijuana, cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute (Martinez). This kind of corruption

with in the police department of McAllen is going to give the Rio Grande Valley a bad image,

forcing people to believe that all cops are crooked. Francisco Meza was also featured on Fox’s America’s Most Wanted (Martinez). The residents of the Rio Grande Valley are not only going to doubt the police officers, but will not feel safe knowing a former police officer is on the loose and was featured on America’s Most Wanted. The viewers of America’s Most Wanted will now have a bad image of the policing in the Rio Grande Valley and will start to question if all police departments are corrupted. People living in the Rio Grande Valley are exposed to

drug smuggling since we are so close to the Mexican border. Living in McAllen and knowing

that there was corruption within the police department makes me embarrassed of my own city.

Another small city is also being affected by drug smuggling. In Arkansas two police

officers who were engaging in a drug smuggle and were being witnessed by two young men who were later brutally murdered by the police officers (Duffy). This incident was called the Train Deaths since the murder of the two young men took place next to the train track where the police officers held their drug smuggling operation (Duffy). This tragic murder was initiated to cover up the wrong doings of the police men. It is disgusting the lengths those men took so nobody would find out about their dirty little secret. Being a law enforcer does not give them the right to take someone’s life away , that is unjustifiable. The police men from Arkansas stated they smuggled drugs to obtain more money since being a police officer did not cut it (Duffy). Police officers make from 40,000 to 50,000 dollars, but they also have the advantage of moving up position all depending on their status, the years they have served in the police department and their educational background. While awaiting trial the two police men were murdered in their cell (Duffy). This kind of corruption just brought more violence by creating tension between the general community and police officers.

If they hire efficient Internal Affairs officers it would help prevent corruption with in

police department by investigating every case. Internal Affair officers can be efficient by having

the right programs and training needed to attack the problem of corruption with in police

departments. Having Internal Affairs officers within police departments has dropped corruption rates (Courtney). Internal Affairs officers help stop corruption by supervising the conduct of police officers to make sure they are following the ethical standards of their jobs. Many of the cases mentioned above were successfully brought to surface thanks to the hard work of the Internal Affairs who helped put an end to those corrupted cops that were involved in drug smuggling. Internal Affair officers have helped bust many corrupted police officers in the United States (Courtney). Although many police officers do not approve of the Internal Affairs officers because they keep a close watch on every law enforcer with in the police department. Many police officers do not like to be told what to do, or how to do their job right which creates tension between police officers and the Internal Affairs officers. It is an Internal Affairs officer’s duty to stop the corruption with in the police department. They need to wipe out all the bad cops that promote corruption. Internal Affairs officers also use many useful techniques to help make their job easier, like the strict code of conduct, which are policies and procedures that articulate guidelines for conducting police business (Courtney). Internal Affairs officers have been sought to be good role models for the rookie police officers (Courtney). Having Internal Affairs as role models to the rookie police officers is a good demonstration in leading those police officers in

the right direction out of corruption.

Another big issue that can help the fight against corruption with in police departments would be to break the code of silence. The code of silence encourages unethical, even criminal, behavior among some cops (Siegal and Senna 205). The code of silence encourages good police officers to say absolutely nothing to prevent the corrupted behavior of other police officers. This kind of behavior is usually formed by the sergeant and the veterans of the police department. What the police officers with the top position do is encourage rookies to commit illegal acts no matter the degree of the corruption and if rookies are opposed to that kind of behavior they are given a hard time and are called chickens (Siegal and Senna 205). The reason why police officers observe the code of silence is because they rely on each other for survival. Some officers think

the code of silence is beneficial because they know there is little chance their wrongdoing will be exposed by other officers. Most administrators need better ethical training to stop the code of silence with in police departments. A way to stop the code of silence right at the source would be to start at the police academies, by making rookies aware of such a code. If the code of silence is broken at the police academies then the rookies will not buy into the code of silence when working together with other officers. The rookies will also be aware of the problem the code of silence can cause and will become disillusioned, thus not wanting to join into the groups that practice the code of silence. If the code of silence is removed from police department there will no longer be little clicks or organizations that are being created by corrupted police officer. If the code of silence is also broken at the police academies, rookie police officers will not be lured by their fellow peers in the police department to commit corrupt acts. Another advantage would be the fact that police officers would start opening up and reporting the misconduct of their fellow co-workers, which would help solve the corruption with the police department.

Unfortunately corruption with the criminal justice system has been around for a long time and will continue to exist unless the legislatures creates harsher penalties for those who decide to break the law. Corruption can also be controlled if more Internal Affairs officers are appointed to police departments. In addition to put a stop the Code of Silence in all police departments. If these steps are followed police department will gain the trust of the people and end corruption as well.

Annotated Bibliography

Martrinez, Andrew. “Ex-cop, gang members still at large.” The Monitor 26 Sept. 2006

<http://www.themonitor.com/>.

The author explains how Francisco Meza, a former McAllen police officer, charged with drug smuggling escaped from East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa. Francisco Meza was awaiting trail for being charged with: conspiracy to distribute marijuana, cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute. This source will help prove that police corruption is not only taking place in big cities, but it has also become a problem in the smaller areas like the Rio Grande Valley.

“Three policemen in Ukraine’s Crimea accused of trafficking drugs.” Black Sea TV.

Simferopol, Russia. 04 Sept. 2006. Transcript. Lexis-Nexis. U of Texas – Pan American Lib., Edinburg, Tx. 14 Nov. 2006 <http://web.lexis-nexis.com/>.

This article points out that seven police officers who held top position in the Kerch police department in Ukraine were the main men for supplying drugs to strong criminal gangs. The policemen were actively involved in an organization that was against the drug trafficking which now contradicts their position as police officers. This article will help explain that even police officers who have top positions in their department are also involved in drug trafficking. In addition, it also explains how police officers take advantage of their positions in an informal manner.

Siegel, Larry J. and Joseph J. Senna. Introduction to Criminal Justice. United States:

Thomson Wadsworth, 2005.

This book introduces policing and when it began around the 1900’s in the United States. It discusses how corruption within police departments has increased and has become more evident. It also helps explain why police officers are committing illegal acts and points out some tactics that can be done to prevent it. This book will help argue that corruption within police departments has not only been around for a couple of years, but for over a century and it is still an issue. It will also be useful to explain some initiatives that can be done to decrease corruption with in the police department.

“Owner of Wellston Towing Company & Hilldale police officers indicted.” States News

Service. Lexis-Nexis. U of Texas- Pan American Lib., Edinburg, Tx. 29 Sept. 2006 <http://web.lexis-nexis.com/>.

The article discusses how Bruce Gales, owner of a towing company, and Sergeant Christopher Cornell were indicted on multiple charges involving a multi-kilo drug trafficking conspiracy. They were involved in the distribution of approximately 120 kilograms of cocaine throughout the St. Louis area and about $ 2.4 million in drug proceeds. This source will help me illustrate how huge amounts of money help lure police officers and misguide them into crossing the line into crime. It will be helpful to make policemen more aware of the huge risks that are being taken when committing illegal acts, like throwing their careers away, facing prison time, and as well as the costly fines.

United States. Dept. of Justice. Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation. Four Chicago

Police Officers, Five Others, Arrested on Drug and Conspiracy Charges. By Chicago Press. 27 Jan. 2005 <http://chicago.fbi.gov/pressrel/2005/jan-27.htm/>

This article states that out of the nine men that were arrested four of them were veterans at the Chicago police department. The police officers would use their status as law enforcers and run various searches on drug dealers, in an effort to recover illegal drugs, money and weapons for their own benefit, rather than for legitimate law enforcement purposes. This article will help me discuss that police officers are using their jobs as law enforcers to obtain illegal items and are corruptly betraying their badges. In addition, it will also help me point how so much corruption within the police department will affect the public’s view of policing.

Duffy, Ives. “The Train Deaths.” ID Files 1996. <http://www.idfiles.com/>.

This article describes how two young men from a rural community in Arkansas were brutally murdered by two police officers while witnessing a drug smuggling operation that was being held by those police men. This source will help me explain the extreme lengths that police officers are willing to take to cover up their wrong doings. It will also help me discuss how the policemen motto “To Serve and Protect” is not being followed thoroughly.

Golab, Jan. “How the Racial P.C Corrupted the LAPD.” The American Enterprise. June

2005. <http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleid.18526/articledetail.asp/>

Jan Golab writes about how the LAPD was knows as the world’s greatest police department, but that is history now that the LAPD is now known for being the most racial profiling, and drug smuggling department. The author also states that the LAPD would recruit officers not paying much attention to their backgrounds, hiring police officers that were linked to gang associations and had criminal records. This source will be useful to discuss how police departments should run background checks on every police officer, and should hire police officers with good morals.

Courtney, Kevin. “Internal Affairs in Police Departments.” The Department of Public

Safety. Sept. 2005. <http://fbi.gov/publications/leb/2005/sept05.txt/>.

This article explains how Internal Affairs helps prevent corruption within police departments by investigating every case. It also states that having Internal Affairs in police departments has dropped corruption rates. Internal Affairs is there to supervise the conduct of police officers and to make sure they are following the policies, procedures and guideline of their job. This article by Kevin Courtney will help demonstrate that if police departments hire more Internal Affair agents the corruption within police departments can be prevented. Internal Affairs will also stop all those police officers that are involved in corruption by investigating them carefully and whipping out all the bad cops that promote corruption. In addition, Internal Affairs will also help the rookie police officers by guiding them in the right direction.



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