Posted: October 27th, 2022

criminal ethics lesson 4 HWlesson4


  •  Assignments
       Lesson Four:
    Chapter SIx
    Q1. Having read Chapter six of the text, please comment on the use of Tasers by, and against, the police. 
    BE SPECIFIC in your answer.
    Keep in mind that there was just an incident which cost a man his  life over this very topic. If you are not familiar with what I am  talking about please search the US news of your choice to read the  story.
    Q2. What does the word TASER mean? Where did it come from?

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    Chapter Seven:
    Q1. List and fully describe the three (3) types of explanations for police deviance. Give examples as appropriate.
    Q2. Do you feel the police should accept ‘gratuities’? If yes, why? If no, why not. .Don’t make your response too short.

  •   HWLesson 4
       Lesson Four:
    Chapter SIx
    Q1. Having read Chapter six of the text, please comment on the use of Tasers by, and against, the police. 
    BE SPECIFIC in your answer.
    Keep  in mind that there was just an incident which cost a man his life over  this very topic. If you are not familiar with what I am talking about  please search the US news of your choice to read the story.
    Q2. What does the word TASER mean? Where did it come from?

    Chapter Seven:
    Q1. List and fully describe the three (3) types of explanations for police deviance. Give examples as appropriate.
    Q2. Do you feel the police should accept ‘gratuities’? If yes, why? If no, why not. .Don’t make your response too short.

Discretion and Dilemmas
Lecture Slides prepared by Cheryn Rowell


Frequent and unavoidable
Not academic
Always unpopular with some groups
Usually resolved quickly
Dealt with alone
Involves complex criteria
Moral Dilemmas of
Law Enforcement Officers

Klockars’ Types of Control
Authority and power-police officers generally tells us what to do and we respond.

Persuasion-authority that officers use in order to coerce in a nonphysical manner.

Physical force-officers use whatever physical methods to control the situation.

Occurs when a discretionary decision-maker treats a group or individual differently from others for no justifiable reason.
Sexual orientation
National origin


Forms of Discrimination
Enforcing the law differentially
Withholding the protection of the law

Greater disrespect
Greater use of force
Racial profiling
Greater use of pretext stops


Racial Profiling
Occurs when an officer uses a “profile” to stop a driver usually to obtain a consent to search for a vehicle. Minorities are highly targeted based on the assumption that they are more likely to commit criminal acts.

Complete fragments, flesh out points

Law and Racial Profiling
US v. Martinez-Fuerte, 425 U.S. 931 (1976)

Legitimized the use of race as a criterion in profiles.
Wren v. US 517 U.S. 806 (1996)

Pretext stops upheld.
The law allows race to be considered as only one element in deciding to stop an individual.

Reactive Investigation
Attempts to reconstruct a crime after it occurs
Consists of gathering evidence to identify and prosecute the offender
Investigator(s) may develop early prejudice about likely perpetrator, which might cause them to:
– be tempted to engage in noble-cause corruption to obtain a conviction;
– ignore or conceal evidence that contradicts their beliefs;
– overstate existing evidence; and/or
– manufacture or alter evidence.


Proactive Investigation
Attempts to document crime as it occurs
Requires a more active police role
Often involves deception by police
Requires “targeting” based on reasonable suspicion
Changes police role from discovering who has committed a crime to discovering who might commit a crime


Typology of Lies
– Placebos, such as lying to a person about how a loved one was killed
– Blue lies, used to control a person and make the police officer’s job easier
Barker and Carter:
– Accepted lies, such as those used during undercover investigations or sting operations
– Tolerated lies, “necessary evils” such as lying during interrogations
– Deviant lies, such as false testimony in court to make a case, or covering up police wrongdoing


Individuals who are not police officers but assist police by providing information about criminal activity.
They are:
Motivated by monetary profit, revenge, dementia, kicks, a need for attention, repentance (guilt), and coercion.

Able to operate under fewer restrictions than police.


Becoming too intimate with informants
Overestimating the veracity of information provided
Potential for being duped by informant
Using informants to entrap people (“creating” crimes)
Engaging in unethical or illegal behaviors on behalf of the informant
Using coercion and intimidation to force informant’s cooperation
Protecting informants who continue to commit crime
Ethical Issues


Undercover officers deceive suspects and others
Difficult for officer and his or her family

Undercover Operations
Short Term
Non-intimate relations
Long Term
Intimate relations
(“Donnie Brasco”)
Continuum of privacy concerns


When police encourage or entice a person to commit an illegal act.
Subjective—Focuses on the defendant and his/her predisposition to crime.
Objective—Focuses on the government and whether it provided “essential element” to the crime.


Criticisms (Stitt & James):
Allows police to tempt former offenders who might otherwise not have been tempted
May rely on hearsay and rumor
May stigmatize the individual charged
Allows police to choose their own targets
Degrades the criminal justice system through the use of deceit


Suggested limitations:

Require a probable cause–based warrant for any interaction longer than 24 hours
Ban officers’ engagement in intimate relationships
Evidence obtained by violating the first two limitations should be excluded at trial
Objections to Limits:

There is no need for an undercover operation if probable cause exists
It is often impossible to get a warrant
Most undercover operations exceed 24 hours
Undercover Operations


Cannot involve physical force (the “third degree”)
Techniques of deception (Skolnick & Leo):
Calling an interrogation an “interview”

Negating the effectiveness of the Miranda warnings by method of presentation

Misrepresenting the seriousness of the offense

Manipulative appeals to suspect’s conscience

Making leniency promises beyond the interrogator’s power to offer

Interrogator misrepresenting his/her identity

Using fabricated evidence to make suspect think case against him/her is strong


“Dirty Harry” Problem
Should torture be used to gain confessions?
Is there a difference between information to save a victim and information to prosecute the suspect?
Do innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit because of mental or physical coercion?


Thinking Point
In August of 2010, Jerry Hobbs of Waukegan, IL was released after spending five years behind bars for the murder of his 8 year old daughter. Hobbs eventually recanted his confession saying that he was coerced into saying he murdered his daughter and her friend. DNA evidence exonerated Hobbs as the possible murderer linking the crime to a neighbor who is now in custody.
Should law enforcement be held accountable
for the alleged coerced confession?
What policies could have prevented this, if any?

Excessive Force
Lawful force is force that is reasonably necessary for lawful purpose.
One of the most serious and divisive human rights violations in the U.S.
Continuum of force (escalation because of resistance).
Use of force depends on discretion of the individual officer.
Individuals who question or refuse to recognize police authority become vulnerable to the use of force.


Culture of Force
L.A.P.D. policy was to use escalating force proportional to a
suspect’s “offensive” behavior.
This policy justified all but the most blatant abuse of police power.

L.A.P.D. culture tolerated, even encouraged, a high level of
Leadership did not actively discourage excessive force.

L.A.P.D. management was responsible, to some extent, for the brutality of the Rodney King incident.

The Los Angeles Police Department
and the Rodney King Incident


The Research on Excessive Force
The true number of excessive force incidents is difficult to detect.
Few encounters end in the use of any force, much less excessive force.
A small percentage of officers are responsible for most excessive force incidents.
Race and socioeconomic status are associated with excessive force.
But other factors (such as demeanor) are more influential.


Who Uses Excessive Force?
Certain characteristics associated with
officers who use excessive force:
Lack of empathy
Antisocial and paranoid tendencies
Proclivity toward abusive behavior
Inability to learn from experience
Tendency to not take responsibility for own actions
Strong identification with the police subculture


Factors in the use of excessive force
Suspect being male

Suspect’s race

Suspect’s demeanor

Suspect agitation/emotionality

Suspect intoxication
Suspect’s use of force

Suspect having a weapon

Socioeconomic status of suspect

Gang involvement
Officer being male
Officer’s race

Age of officer (younger)
Officer having prior injuries

Encounter involving a car chase
Number of citizens present
Number of police officers present
Knowledge suspect committed
prior (especially violent) crimes


Determining Excessive Force
Use of official documents in incident reports.
Asking police officers about their actions and those of their peers.
Civil rights complaints or public opinion surveys.
Observers in police cars who record interactions between police and citizens.


Complete fragments, flesh out points


Police Corruption and Misconduct
Lecture Slides prepared by Cheryn Rowell


The majority of police officers are professional and ethical. However, a small minority abuse their power. This leads to close scrutiny by the public of all police.
Police officers have tremendous power in our society:
The power to arrest
The power to mediate or to charge
The power to use force
The power of life and death

Abuse of Power by Police


Police Corruption:
A Worldwide Problem
Countries with high scores for police honesty
New Zealand
Countries with low scores for police honesty


Types of Corruption
1973 Knapp Commission:
Grass eaters—accepting bribes, gratuities, and unsolicited protection money
Meat eaters—shakedowns, “shopped” at burglary scenes, and engaged in more active deviant practices
1993 Mollen Commission:
Criminal cops—burglary rings, selling drugs, robbing drug dealers


Police Abuse of Authority (Barker and Carter)

Physical abuse
Excessive force
Physical harassment

Psychological abuse

Legal abuse
Unlawful searches or seizures
Manufacturing evidence


Corruption (Fyfe and Kane)
Police crime —police officers violate criminal statutes.
Police corruption —officer uses his or her position, by act or omission, to obtain improper financial benefit, bribes, extra-job policy abuse, gratuities (may be criminal or not).
Abuse of power —officers physically injure or offend a citizen’s sense of dignity (“brutality” or unnecessary force, deception in interrogation, intimidation on the street, perjury, planting evidence, and hiding exculpatory evidence, off-duty misconduct).


Items of value given because of role or position, rather than personal relationship.
A gift is personal and has no strings attached.
Common police gratuities include:

Free coffee
Free movie/sports tickets
Discounted or free meals
Discounted or free merchandise


Professional Courtesy
The practice of not ticketing an officer who is stopped for speeding or for other driving violations.

Using Drugs/Alcohol on Duty
Police work factors that foster drug use:
Exposure to a criminal element
Relative freedom from supervision
Uncontrolled availability of contraband

Drinking on duty:
Creates less vulnerability to corruption than drug use
Creates an ethical dilemma for other officers
May lead other officers to isolate themselves from or avoid working with those who drink


Exploitation of one’s role by accepting
bribes or protection money.

Also applies to kickbacks from defense attorneys, bail bond companies, etc.
Bribes rated in one study as second most serious ethical transgression (after theft from burglary scene).



Sexual Misconduct (Kraska & Kappeler)
Viewing a victim’s photos, etc., for prurient purposes

Strip searches

Illegal detentions

Deception to gain sex

Trading favors for sex
Sexual harassment
Sexual contact
Sexual assault


Criminal Cops
“Buddy boys” (NYC)
Mafia Cops (Eppolito & Caracappa)
Boston (Pulido)
Cleveland cocaine cops
Chicago (robbery, extortion, theft)
Miami River Rats
Drug crimes (in all cities: protection, theft, robbery)


“Rotten-apple” argument (Officer was deviant before hiring)
Development of a police personality (Officer became deviant after hiring)
Possible predictors: gender, age, education, race, military experience, academy performance, prior history of wrongdoing

Target: screening/recruiting process; training


Poor management and supervision
“Noble Cause” (improper rewards)
Corruption continuum (Trautman)
– Administrative indifference toward integrity
– Ignoring ethical problems
– Hypocrisy and fear
– “Survival of the fittest”
Continuum of compromise (Gilmartin & Harris)
– Sense of victimization
– Cynicism and entitlement
– Wrongdoing



If the public does not comply with the law, officers may rationalize non-enforcement of the law.
If the public engages in illegal activities, officers may feel justified in doing the same.

If the public believes crime control is more important than due process, police will act on that message.



Thinking Point
On May 25th, 2010 a Winfield, MO police officer was arrested for buying 2 grams of cocaine from a police informant. The officer was later taken into custody in his uniform. Bud Chrum was hired in December of 2009 making $14.97 per hour.
What explanation can be offered as to why this officer became corrupt?
Was he simply a rotten apple or did he develop the police personality?
Is there ever a time when this type of behavior is justified?

Reducing Corruption (Malloy)
Increase pay

Eliminate unenforceable laws

Establish civilian review boards

Improve training

Improve leadership


Set realistic goals and objectives

Provide ethical leadership

Provide a written code of ethics

Provide a whistle-blowing procedure that ensures fair treatment for all parties

Provide training in law enforcement ethics
Reducing Corruption (Metz)


Education and Training
Higher formal education standards are not, themselves, the key to ethical behavior
Academy and in-service ethics training are common and recommended for all departments
Many courses use a moral reasoning approach
Some advocate an emphasis on character
Others recommend case studies


Integrity Testing
Very controversial
Not well-received by most officers
Comparing integrity testing to undercover operations reveals that:

– Most officers oppose integrity testing
– Most officers support undercover operations


Early Warning or Audit Systems
Seek to identify problem officers by trends of abuse or corruption complaints
Identified officers may be subject to:
– Reassignment, retraining, or transfer
Referral to an employee assistance program
A fitness-for-duty evaluation


Internal Affairs Model
Police investigate themselves
Police use an internal discipline system
Widely seen as ineffective
May discourage civilian complaints
Does not evoke public confidence


Civilian Review/Complaint Model
An independent civilian agency audits complaints and investigations
Police still investigate and conduct discipline proceeding
Using departments receive more civilian complaints
Internal and external substantiation rates about the same—approximately ten percent


�Ethical Leadership
Mistrust of police administration is pervasive among the rank-and file
Two cultures of policing: street cops and management
Most agree that supervisor behavior has greater influence on employee behavior than directives or ethics
Leaders lead most effectively by example



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