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Corruption in County Law Enforcement: Preliminary Considerations (From Festschrift for Sarah B Scharr, P 74-90, 1987, Gad J Bensinger, ed. -- See NCJ-111056)

NCJ Number
D R Struckhoff
Date Published
17 pages
Interviews with three Illinois sheriffs focus on the definition of corruption, the extent of corruption in their departments, and strategies for dealing with corruption.
All three sheriffs favored conventional and situational definitions of police corruption. Their definition of police corruption encompassed abuse of authority, kickbacks, opportunistic theft, shakedowns (bribery), protection of illegal activity, 'fixing,' direct crime by officials, and internal payoffs. The sheriffs agreed that corruption and graft are recurrent problems in their departments. In the corrections area of the sheriff's department's responsibilities, corruption typically involves favors for inmates, theft of inmates' property, and inmate shakedowns. Among bailiffs, corruption typically involves kickbacks. In the law enforcement area, payments to protect criminal enterprises, notably vice, are likely to occur. The sheriffs believe corruption has diminished due to the many 'watchdogs' attempting to spot police corruption, the use of merit commissions to monitor officers' performance, the structure of checks and balances, adequately paid employees, systems of accountability based in regulations and supervision, and the elective process for sheriffs. 9-item bibliography.


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