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Bad Cops: A Study of Career-Ending Misconduct Among New York City Police Officers

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2005
422 pages
This study examined the personal and career histories of all 1,543 New York City police officers who were involuntarily dismissed from the department for misconduct during 1975-96; they were compared with a randomly selected sample of their Police Academy classmates who had served honorably.
Officers whose personal histories included arrest, traffic violations, and failure in other jobs were more likely than other officers to be terminated from their jobs because of misconduct. Officers who held associate or higher degrees were less likely than those without them to be dismissed for misconduct. Those who did well in the academy's recruit training program were also less likely than marginal recruits to be terminated for misconduct. As the representation of Hispanic and Asian officers in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has increased, their rates of involuntary separation from the department have decreased and become indistinguishable from those of White officers. Black officers representation in the department has remained relatively flat over the years studied; their involuntary separation rates have also decreased, but remain higher than those for other racial groups in the department. The study used confidential NYPD files as its major data source. Bivariate techniques were used to test 37 hypotheses and subhypotheses suggested by the literature, 2 expert advisory committees, and several focus groups of NYPD personnel. Appropriate multivariate techniques (Principal Component Analysis and Logistic Regression Analysis) generally supported bivariate findings. Extensive tables and figures and 200 references

Date Published: February 1, 2005