The obstacles facing police departments today are not new or uncommon. The problem goes back as far as the forming of the first organized police forces. Corruption has taken many forms and has continued to effect the police departments in major cities and small towns. While corruption has been a consistent problem in law enforcement, the nature of corrupt activity has changed dramatically over the years. The attempt to "professionalize" police forces through better recruitment, training, income, and working conditions has resulted in fewer corrupt officers. Police corruption today has become more aggressive in which it is more serious in the crimes committed. Today's police corruption is most likely to involve drugs, organized crime, and small groups of officers engaged in felonious criminal activities. .
The police scandals in New York City provide a clear example of this. New York's Mollen Commission found the face of corruption had changed. The Mollen Commission is a committee that investigates police corruption. Their primary problem was "crew corruption," where groups of officers protect and assist each other's criminal activities. The Mollen Commission identified the overpowering patterns of corruption in New York City as police officers committing theft from street dealers, radio responses, searches, raids, car stops, and off-duty robberies. They also discovered cops protecting and assisting drug traffickers as well as cops dealing and using illegal drugs themselves. A pattern of inaccurate police testimony and false crime reports was also identified in New York.
New York is not the only city to experience drug-related police corruption scandals. Almost every major police department has confronted similar problems. Some examples of police corruption in major cities are: in 1994, as many as 29 New Orleans police officers protected a cocaine supply warehouse containing 286 pounds of cocaine.