Police Accountability: Training Day Movie (2001)

Posted: March 1, 2015 by pavansinghsamra19 in Uncategorized

Accountability is crucial to maintain within a police organization, it’s not just for individual officers. Accountability is important to citizens in society and without accountability there is no legitimacy. For police to function in a democratic society the police force must be legitimate. The interactionism perspective, which is a critical element, outlines how good cops become engaged with dirty work becoming bad cops. For many years the police have been under scrutiny. Police activities such as, bribery, illegal activities to gain personal benefits result in officers at a greater risk of succumbing to corruption.


The Training Day, a movie released in 2001, staring Denzel Washington (Alonzo) and Ethan Hawke (Jake) was a film that exposed police deviance. Jake, a new undercover narcotics officer that is paired up with Alonso so that Alonso can show him the streets, and assess how Hawke performs under pressure. Alonso had different perspective of how policing was effective. Alonso then introduces Jake to a retired LAPD veteran, his friends, Scott Glenn who was now dealing drugs as a side business. Alonso would get away with money and drugs by scaring and threating people that had a problem. However, Jake is not on board with the way Alonso is dealing with things; yet Alonso explains to Jake “to protect the sheep, you need to kill the wolves and the only way to do that is to become a wolf.” Alonso believed that criminals could only be caught if you become a criminal as well. Alonso believed that policing couldn’t be accomplished through plain old tactics; rather, it is need of plenty of dirty work.

Later in the movie, Alonso gets himself into a little bit of trouble in Las Vegas, and now owes the Russian mob a million of dollars. Alonso, being trouble found one solution and that was to rob his own friend Scott Glen. Alonso contacts four members’ that worked within his unit and raided Scott Glenn’s house and shot Scott. However, to cover up this murder the story was that Scott Glenn fired at Alonso, so they fired back and he died. Jack on the other hand did not believe what happened and if he was to snitch them out we already had him in trouble by smoking PCP. In addition, Alonso set up Hawke to be killed as well, however, Hawke committed a good dead to a girl earlier by saving her from a group of guys, so the four members left him off the hook. Jake then confront Alonso outside of his house, the ghetto area and exchange their frustration by shooting at each other and eventually came face to face. Alonso, still being a bad guy give anyone of his neighbours to kill Hawke and promised them to become a rich man, but no one agreed to his offer. Alonso then takes off and is ultimately stopped by a van that was full of Russian mobsters and they sprayed his car with bullets leaving him dead.


Typologies that can be applied to Alonso’s role within movie was the dirty hairy situation. In other words, Alonso did what was required to get any sort of information for whoever he wanted and whenever he wanted by becoming secretly apart of the dirty world and using their own tactics against them. The category of the asshole performs for the police established for a policeman a stained or flawed identity to attribute to the citizen upon which he can justify his sometimes-malevolent acts. The asshole may well be the recipient of what the police call “street justice”- a physical attack design to rectify what police take as personal insult.

Punch (2009: 31) proposes that police corruption “relates centrally to abuse of office, of power and of trust and manifests itself in many ways but most frequently in consensual and exploitive relations with criminals, in discrimination against certain groups, in excessive violence and in infringements of the rule of law and due process”. Key element is the misuse of police authority for gain (e.g. taking bribes, ‘fixing’ a criminal prosecution by leaving out relevant information, drug
dealing, police abuse and brutality {aggressive stop and search, use of excessive force}, and so forth. Moreover, police corruption can also involve criminal collusion with organized crime and/or politicians. (Punch 2003).

Punch, M. (2009). Police corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Routledge.

Fuqua. A. (2001). Training Day. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0139654/


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