There are several hypotheses that can be applied to analyze police corruption in addition to the slippery slope hypothesis. Three of them are the society at large, structural or affiliation, and rotten apple hypotheses. Police corruption can be dealt with through policies and training.
The slippery slope hypothesis in regard to police corruption refers to what may seem like harmless gifts to police officers eventually turning into bribes and corruption (Delegate, 2011). An example would be a celebrity who has off duty police officer working on their security detail.The celebrity gives the officers small gifts such as free meals as gratitude for their service. These free meals eventually turn into PIP tickets to sports events and concerts for the officers. Eventually the officers are receiving expensive watches and clothes from the celebrity. The celebrity may eventually believe that they can trust the officer enough to turn a blind eye to some illegal activity that they are involved with. An example of this would be the police officer turning a blind eye to the celebrity doing a line of cocaine.Now that the liberty knows that they can trust the officer, the celebrity may expect the officer to also turn a blind eye to sex with underage girls.
The celebrity may not only use drugs, but may also finance a drug operation that they expect the officer to overlook. If this were to happen and be exposed, the integrity of the officers who received these gifts will no doubt be called into question. Even if there were no illegal activity going on, Another hypothesis is the society at large hypothesis. The society at large hypothesis is based in the theory that the level of service that is received is relative to he gratuity that is extended.Using this hypothesis, this gratuity in exchange for service also extends to police officers (Delegate, 2011). An example of this would be an individual giving an officer a cash tip for a police officer using their discretion not to write a citation.
This could eventually lead to officers expecting citizens to hand out cash bribes to use their discretion and turn a blind eye when they see infractions of the law. The society at large hypothesis and slippery slope hypothesis go hand in hand. The next hypothesis is the structural or affiliation hypothesis.The structural or affiliation hypothesis is based in corruption emerging because deviant behavior is accepted within the police force (Delegate, 2011). Using our two hypothetical scenarios as examples it is easy to see how the slippery slope and society at large hypotheses are tied in to the structural or affiliation hypothesis. In the slippery slope hypothesis example of police officers performing off duty security for the celebrity, a new officer may be brought into the fold.
This officer may question why the officers are receiving such elaborate gifts and turning a blind eye to the celebrities’ illegal activities.This officer would more than likely be told to keep his/her mouth shut and Just go along with the program. The same would hold true for the officers accepting bribes for turning a blind eye to traffic violations in the society at large hypothesis example. So far it can be seen how the slippery slope, society at large, and structural or affiliation hypothesis all tie directly into one another.
Another hypothesis is the rotten apple hypothesis. This hypothesis is derived from he old saying “one rotten apple ruins the entire bunch”.This hypothesis differs from the other theories in that it takes a closer look at the individual officers instead of looking at society or the structure. Delegate classifies police officers by character types. There are four character types that he uses. These are bad character, the uncontrolled, the self-controlled, and the excellent character (Delegate, 2011).
Officers with bad character would take advantage of a situation and use it for corruption. The uncontrolled officers may take advantage of the same situations that officers with ad character but will more carefully weigh the risk reward pay off of the corruption activity.These officers could be bought off at a price. The self-controlled officer does the right thing and does not engage in corruption but holds resentment towards those who break the law and get away with it; however they continue to do the right thing.
An officer with excellent character is truly incorruptible. This officer does the right thing out of a sense of duty and has a true passion for their chosen profession of law enforcement. Under the rotten apple theory, officers with bad character would lure uncontrolled and potentially self-controlled officers into participating in corrupt activity.
While the rotten apple hypothesis focuses on individual officers more so than the society at large and the structural or affiliation hypothesis, it can still be concluded that the rotten apple hypothesis can be tied back into all of the other hypotheses. Going back to the aforementioned hypothetical scenarios of the corrupt celebrity and the officers taking bribes for turning a blind eye to the traffic violations, tot of these scenarios had to have started with a lone officer who either had bad or cause. This shows how the bad apple hypothesis can be tied in to the other hypotheses.Departments can curb corruption with the policies that they have in place, training that they provide for their officers, and harsh punishment for officers caught in corruption scandals. Police departments should have policies in place that outline what exactly counts as gratuities and how to report and deal with gratuity. Many departments have officers report any gifts or gratuities that they receive (Incarnadine, 2010).
Police departments should provide regular training outlining the dangers of accepting gratuities and the effects of the slippery slope.This training could have a positive effect on uncontrolled and self-controlled character officers (Incarnadine, 2010). Finally there should be harsh punishment handed down when officers are found guilty in corruption scandals.
This would act as a deterrent for officers who have thought of dabbling in illegal activities. Corruption scandals bring about embarrassment and shame to police departments. This makes it extremely difficult for departments to maintain the trust ND respect of the community that they are there to serve.