Police corruption is a problem that has and will continue to affect us all, whether we are civilian or law enforcement officers. An examination of any newspapers or police-related publications on any given day will have an article about a police officer that got busted committing some kind of illegal act. Since its beginnings, many aspects of policing have changed; however, one aspect that has remained unchanged is the existence of corruption within the police department. .
Corruption within police departments falls into two basic categories, external corruption and internal corruption. For an internal act to occur, three distinct elements of police corruption must be present: misuse of authority, misuse of official capacity, and misuse of personal (Dantzker 157). It can be said that power inevitably tends to corrupt, and while there is no reason to suppose that police officer as individuals are any less fallible than other members of society, people are often shocked and outraged when police officer are exposed violating the law. .
External corruption usually consists of one or more of the following: Payoffs to police by non-criminal elements who fail to abide by stringent statutes or city ordinances. Payoffs to police by individuals who repeatedly violate the law. And "Clean Graft" where money is paid to police for services, or where courtesy discounts is given to the police. (Dantzker 156-57). Police officers in the past have been involved in activities such as extortion of money and/or narcotics from narcotics violators in order to avoid arrest; they have accepted bribes; they have sold narcotics. They have known of narcotics violations and have failed to take proper action. They have entered into personal relations with narcotics criminals and in some cases have used narcotics themselves. They have also given false testimony in court in order to obtain dismissal of the charges against a defendant (Sherman 129).