SAGE Journal Articles
Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
Abstract: The code of silence—the informal prohibition of reporting misconduct by fellow police officers—has long been viewed as a serious obstacle in control of police misconduct and achievement of police accountability. The purpose of this article is to study the key correlates of police officers’ reluctance to report. Relying upon a theory of police integrity and the accompanying methodology to study the code, a police integrity survey was administered in 2013 and 2014 to measure the contours of police integrity among 604 police officers from 11 police agencies located in the Midwest and the East Coast of the United States. The questionnaire contains descriptions of 11 scenarios describing various forms of police misconduct, each followed by seven questions measuring officer views of scenario seriousness, the appropriate and expected discipline, and willingness to report misconduct. Multivariate analyses reveal that the key factor related to the police officers’ reluctance to report is the perception that the other officers would not report. The code is also negatively related to familiarity with the official rules, evaluation of misconduct as serious, and the expectation of harsher discipline. The methodology can be used either by the police agencies themselves or by the civilian oversights to assess the nature and extent of the code in the police agency.
Abstract: This study analyzes the association between police organizational and environmental factors and police misconduct using data derived from the new National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project (2009–2010). Our use of this data set affords us the opportunity to measure police misconduct with much greater breadth than in previous studies. A negative binomial regression analysis of 497 city police departments shows the following organizational characteristics—organizational size, the presence of a full-time internal affairs unit, and in-service training—salient in predicting police misconduct. The violent crime rate is the only environmental variable that influences police misconduct. These results not only highlight the importance of organizational structure in influencing police officer misconduct but they also suggest that a police department has at its disposal the ability to institute organizational changes that can help attenuate the occurrence of police misconduct.