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Enhancing Police Integrity

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2005
16 pages
This study identified characteristics of a police agency culture that encourages employees to resist or to tolerate certain types of misconduct.
The analysis was based on responses given by 3,235 officers from 30 law enforcement agencies across the Nation in responding to questions about hypothetical scenarios related to police misconduct. The analysis of the responses revealed officers' understanding of agency rules on misconduct, their views about the seriousness of various types of misconduct, their knowledge and opinions about potential disciplinary measures, and their willingness to report prohibited behavior by other officers. The researchers ranked the 30 responding agencies according to their environments of integrity, selecting 3 highly ranked agencies for in-depth evaluation and field observations. Based on the findings, the researchers identified several factors they believe foster integrity within a police agency. One factor is the commitment of police administrators to the creation and maintenance of an organizational culture that gives top priority to officer integrity. One means of promoting such a culture is to educate both police officers and the public by disclosing the entire disciplinary process to maximum public scrutiny. How police managers detect, investigate, and discipline misconduct will also show officers how serious the managers view the misconduct. Finally, police administrators should expressly require all officers to report the misconduct of other officers or risk severe discipline. Rotating and changing officer assignments can help prevent the development of personal bonds among officers that may discourage the reporting of other officers' misconduct. 5 notes and 15 listings for additional reading

Date Published: December 1, 2005