Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Look at the IIO, by Jarnell Dosanjh

Posted: April 28, 2015 by jarnelldosanjh92 in Uncategorized

The Independent Investigations Office came into effect after the Braidwood Inquiry. Justice Braidwood found inaccuracies within the RCMP internal review report concerning the tasering of Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski Vancouver International Airport. Justice Braidwood decided in the inquiry that it was a bad idea for the police to investigate police and that an independent investigations body should be established to investigate police incidents where there were accounts death or serious harm. The IIO would investigate police officer conduct to see if the officer was liable to criminal charges. The Independent Investigations Office is set up in the Ministry of Justice and is under the command and direction of the Chief Civilian Director, and the Chief Civilian Director cannot ever have served as a police officer (iiobc, 2015).

The mandate of the Independent Investigations Office is simple; they investigate police incidents where there as been a death or serious harm and the IIO is tasked to investigate whether the police officer in that incident has committed a criminal offence. Incidents of serious harm may include injuries that could result in death, “or may cause substantial loss or impairment of mobility of the body as a whole or of the function of any limb or organ”(iiobc, 2015). The IIO, the RCMP and other police departments in British Columbia launch investigations in accordance to the Criminal Code of Canada and perhaps other statutes.

The Independent Investigations Office is headed by Chief Civilian Director, Richard Rosenthal. Prior to becoming the head of the IIO, Rosenthal was a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney. He worked in the Central Trials Division, where he prosecuted felony violations and homicides. After working in the Central Trials Division Rosenthal investigated high profile financial offences in the Major Fraud Division. Richard also worked in the Special Investigation Division, prosecuting public officials, judges, and police officers who were engaged in misconduct. In 2001 Rosenthal created Portland first police oversight body. In 2005 Rosenthal was charged with heading Denver’s first Independent Monitor that investigated incidents of officer shooting as well as in-custody deaths. Clinton J. Sadlemyer is the IIO’s Director of Legal Services. Sadlemyer has practiced criminal law and was once a crown prosecutor. He is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association. John Larkin is the Chief of Investigations. He has racked up 30 years of police experience in England and Northern Ireland. Larkin has headed operations into homicides and has been in charge of counter terrorism investigations. Larkin has also leaded investigations into police misconduct, especially in cases involving officers involved in murder. Barbara Kaiway is the Director of Corporate Services. Kaiway has been a public servant for more than 30 years and has a background in finance and administration. Kellie Kilpatrick is the Executive Director of Public Accountability. Kilpatrick is a specialist in Child Welfare and her current role,is to be “responsible for those IIO programs that interface with external stakeholders, affected persons, and media, other Government Ministries and for public reporting”(iiobc, 2015).

The Independent Office of Investigations has four general investigative teams as well as a specialized team, and in addition every team is headed by a director. About half of the investigators are former police officers, but “those without policing backgrounds have significant experience in other investigative agencies”(iiobc, 2015). All IIO investigators have to be civilians “with investigative experience, a former member of a police or law enforcement agency outside of British Columbia, or a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police”(Leg.bc, 2011) .The Specialized Unit has investigators with experience in forensic identification and collision analysis. The IIO also monitors police officers who are gathering evidence at the scene of a crime.

Currently the IIO is investigating a case of the stabbing rampage that took place a few weeks ago in front of the First United Church on Hastings and Gore. On that day the Vancouver Police Department received “reports of a man stabbing people near the First United Church”(CBC, 2015) in the Downtown East Side. Once police showed up they found an individual in possession of a knife who was just outside of the First United Church. The man with the knife then targeted a woman, police then shot the man. The woman was in critical condition and two other individuals “were treated for non life-threatening injuries”(CBC, 2015). It was noted that the police tried to take the suspect into custody. After the incident the IIO was called in and they conducted a neighborhood canvass; they interviewed witnesses, secured any video, and were seeking out any other information that may be available”(iiobc, 2015).

The future of the IIO is strong. It is a true accountability body. Civilians do not have to worry about the problems of police investigating police. Most of the IIO investigators are retired police officers, lawyers, and public servants. To add, the heads of the organization are members who belong to the international community. Most of the directors were not even born in Canada, and there is a strict rule in that the chief civilian director can never have served as a police officer; this further extends the point that the IIO is an impartial civilian oversight body. The IIO is an organization that will last long because their members have years and years of experience and they don’t have current ties or allegiance to any police organization while they are investigating the police.


BOND, S. (2011). The Independent Investigations Office of BC is a civilian-led investigatory body. Retrieved from ://

(2015, April 9). Retrieved from

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is a civilian-led investigatory body. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from

Fictional representations of policing usually are the opposite of what policing is actually like in reality. Popular culture tends to focus on police deviance instead of showcasing the core values of policing. It does not only illustrate it, but it also depicts the practice of police deviance as something which is normal. An example of a fictional representation of policing which features police deviance as a major theme is, the 2006 American Hollywood film, “The Departed.”

In this film, two of the main characters, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) play a role as police officers. Sullivan is recruited at a young age by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), an Irish-American mobster. When he grows older, he gets a job as a police officer with the state police force, and works with the Special Investigations Unit which focuses on organized crime. However, his purpose behind getting this job was so that he could get information from the inside and keep Costello informed. On the other hand, Costigan, who comes from a background of extended family ties to organized crime, also wants to become a police officer. However, before he is able to graduate from the police academy, the state police force’s captain and staff sergeant approach him. After meeting him they decide to offer him a position as a police officer only on one condition, which is that he quit the police academy, be charged and sentenced to serve some time in prison for a fake assault charge, so that he can gain credibility to infiltrate Costello’s organization. They believe that due to his ties with people involved with organized crime, he fits the perfect role to work with the criminal organization, as an undercover police officer. Both Sullivan and Costigan are successful in gaining entry and are accepted into the organizations in which they will act as a mole.

Sullivan portrays a corrupt police officer by maintaining ties with a criminal organization. He is involved by working for the criminal organization run by Costello, as well as protecting them. He would be classified as a uniform carrier because his motive is not that of a typical police officer (Punch, 2009). According to Roebuck and Barker (1974), Sullivan’s corruption is motivated by the pursuit of gain, specifically that which is known as the “protection of illegal activities.” For example, he releases information to Costello, to help him escape and prevent getting caught. Sullivan is aware of all police operations and warns Costello of them. Without the information that he has access to, it would be difficult for Costello to easily get away undetected. This explains why Costello had prepared for boats to be waiting outside at the back of the warehouse location where he was meeting to make a deal to sell stolen missile guidance microchips to Chinese government agents. Sullivan misuses his police authority because he has a criminal collusion with organized crime. He abuses the office, power, and trust and also violates the norms of policing therefore he is seen as being corrupt and deviant (Punch, 2009). Gilmartin (2006) explains that police officers are known to become corrupt as a result of entitlement, which is when they believe that the rules do not apply to them.

Costigan is a police officer who is using police deviance to handle things. Specifically, he is involved in using police misconduct, which is known as the act of violating the rules, policies, and procedures of the police force (Larsen, 2015). For example, he uses violent tactics to deal with people, and is seen to assault people on a number of occasions. Once at a bar and another at the store. He is portrayed as a police officer who deals with things his own way, which is to fight. As Van Maanen (2005) would say, Costigan uses excessive force. However, a different approach could have been used to handle the situations. The implicatory denial technique of neutralization can also be applied to Costigan because he justified his actions since he is working undercover for the police and is only trying to help them by gathering information which may help in their investigation.

In conclusion, both Sullivan and Costigan’s behaviour is not consistent with the norms, values, or ethics of policing. They do not carry the core values of the police agency, especially honesty, since dishonesty is seen as a big issue in this film. Thus, “The Departed” depicts the role of police in a completely fictional manner. I do not think that society is affected or misguided in any way. Everyone is aware that movies are only for entertainment purposes. Our society has an interest in things which are out of the ordinary. In the movie industry, things like this sell. I think most people are able to differentiate between what is fiction and what is non-fiction. They know that films are dramatized and do not portray the real world of policing. Although, police deviance and corruption does exist in reality, it does not exist to this extent that it is considered a common practice. The core values and ethics of policing in reality are much different than those in the film industry.

The common tropes, themes, and messages which are conveyed through this media representation of police wrongdoing include that police deviance and corruption is a normal practice occurring in all police organizations, the police are able to create their own rules, they are always ready to fight, and they are never punished for doing such things, but rather are praised and rewarded for doing so. Instead of letting the courts handle things, police are usually seen taking things into their own hands by beating people up, leaving them to die, or killing them. Another thing which many fiction pieces show include police officers have sexual encounters with people they should only have a professional relationship with. In conclusion, to simplify things, many of the acts, values, and behaviours which would be deemed as unacceptable, deviant, or unethical in reality, are shown as a normal form of policing which is acceptable.


Gilmartin, K. M. (2006). Ethics-based policing… undoing entitlement. Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families. Retrieved from

Larsen, M. (Spring 2015). Criminology 2355: Police deviance and accountability. Lecture notes. Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Punch, M. (2009). What is corruption? In Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing (pp. 18-52). Portland: Willan Pub.

Roebuck, J. B. & Barker, T. (1974). A typology of police corruption. Social Problems, 21(3), 423-437.

Van Maanen, J. (2005). The Asshole. In T. Newburn (Ed.), Policing: Key Readings (pp. 280-296). Portland: Willan Pub

Chicago PD: The Glorification of Deviant Policing

Posted: March 17, 2015 by jakimitchinson in Uncategorized

Chicago PD: Seasons 1 & 2

This weekly television show follows the Intelligence Unit of the Chicago Police Department, which deals with major crimes like drug trafficking and high-profile murders. Sgt. Hank Voight — a tough boss who doesn’t mind bending the rules a little in the pursuit of justice — heads the unit’s elite team. Sergeant Voight’s motto is “We don’t ask for permission, we ask for forgiveness”.

Sergeant Voight is a classic “Noble Causer” as defined by Punch (2009). He is committed to the ends of policing, he believes in his role as a crime stopper. He is so committed to the end means of policing, that he is willing to employ deviant methods to achieve those ends. My irritation is not about the Noble Cause tendencies of Sergeant Voight, it is of the fact that at the end of every episode he is praised for his “good work”. He is not doing good work in my opinion. He is reinforcing the notion that police are “above the law”, and need not obey policies and laws as long as they apprehend someone at the end of the day. Furthermore, Voight is the supervisor of all of the other police men and women on this show, and he encourages them to take whatever measures are necessary in order to apprehend and charge any offender. The core values of a policing agency are completely ignored by this unit: fairness, trustworthiness and professionalism are not evident in any area of this television depiction of a police organization.

Voight is constantly under investigation from Internal Affairs (IA), but always manages to avoid sanctions because of the “results” he produces.  Naturally, Voight always defends his officers when they are investigated by IA as well, calling them “good police” too many times to count throughout the season.  Voight is glorifying the term “good police” as an officer who solves cases and apprehends dangerous individuals.  What he does not address is the psychological harming intimidation tactics, as well the constant use of unnecessary physical force that these “good police” use.  There is no line nor distinction between corrupt and uncorrupt in this show, because all of the officers exhibit corrupt behaviour that is ultimately praised.

A common underlying theme conveyed through media representations of police wrongdoing center on the understanding that deviance and “bending the rules” is acceptable as long as criminals are caught and locked up. As a Criminology student, I despise this rationalization. I firmly believe in the due process model. An individual is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, and it is not the police department’s job to take on a “judge and jury” role. I become weary of the fact that millions of individuals exposure to policing rests on weekly television shows such as Chicago PD. If this is the education that society is receiving about policing, how is the public expected to hold any police organizations accountable any of their actions besides apprehending “criminals”?

Although I recognize that fiction is not always trying to represent reality, I believe Chicago PD is attempting to recreate incidents and relationships within a police precinct. Naturally, the paperwork portion of an officer’s job would not make for thrilling television. So the realistically infrequent cases of kidnappings, million dollar drug busts, and serial killing are incorporated into every weekly episode.

Because this television show is depicted as a “typical” police organization, public perceptions about the deviant practices police as well as their abuse of authority become normalized.  This should be worrisome, as these characteristics have potential for run-off into the real world policing which is not only possible, but also admired.


IMBD. Chicago PD. Retrieved at

Punch, M. (2009). What is corruption? In Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing (pp. 18-52). Portland: Willian Publishing.

The Shield: Police Corruption and What it Teaches us

The Shield, an American drama series premiering March 12, 2002, is notoriously known for its reoccurring theme of police corruption and misconduct. This is a popular series focusing on a group of detectives from the LAPD called the Strike Team, which is essentially portrayed as an anti-gang division. The Strike Team is lead by detective Vic Mackey, a crude man that promotes his unethical and deviant police problem-solving tactics which include excessive force, lying, and stealing, among others, with the intention of protecting his team, prosecuting criminals, and maintaining order on the streets. Even focusing on the first episode only, there are several examples of Vic demonstrating police deviance and misconduct that are presented and dealt with in a way that infers it is not out of the norm.

Vic is first introduced chasing a suspect alongside other officers. Once cornered, the suspect surrenders prompting a punch in the stomach from Vic for “making [him] run”, displaying clear police brutality. The next time we see him he’s lying to his department about an offender’s complaint against him of excessive force (in this case, involving a pair of pliers). His denial was followed by him stating that his team will back him up as well. Later on while looking for information, Vic runs into a well-known prostitute with who he exchanges a bag of drugs (recently confiscated from a dealer) for information. A major theme within this team, especially promoted by Vic, is that, to quote him, “Team comes first. We take care of each other” , and “We’d kill to protect each other.” This code strays away from the ideal fundamental principals that the officers of British Columbia operate, such as democracy & the rule of law, safeguarding the public trust, justice and equality (British Columbia Code of Ethics, 2011).

Vic later, as a last resort, joins the interrogation team and has a one-on-one sit down with a suspected pedophile in hopes of revealing of a little girl, Jenny Reborg. Following his statement “Good cop and bad cop left for the day. I’m a different kind of cop”, Vic struck him in the throat and begins beating him with a phone book. Vic successfully obtained his confession via his old school, and clearly illegal, interrogation tactics. Whilst watching Vic beat the suspect through the window, one of the female detectives speaks on the topic of police use of excessive force: “What people want these days is to make it to their car without getting mugged…finding out a murderer is caught…if all that means that some cop roughed up some n****r or sp*c in the ghetto, well as far as most people are concerned, it’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. How do you figure on changing that?” None of his team members observing through the one-way mirror spoke out about the incident.

The last few minutes of the episode ends with the strike team doing a raid of a suspected drug dealers house; this raid included detective Terry Rowley who was new to the department and a rookie to raid assignments. After shooting the drug dealer in the bathroom who was flushing his stash, there was no longer any perceived danger. Vic turns around and shoots his collegue Terry Crowley in the face. He was pronounced dead at 2:13pm. When confronted about the incident, Vic and his team are adamant that it was the drug dealer who shot detective Crowley in the face. It is revealed later that the detective was added to the team to “take Vic Mackey down”. The fact that none of Vic’s team members spoke out about this incident or any before it, enforces their code of “Team comes first. We take care of each other” and normalizes this behaviour. This only further encourages these kinds of actions; silence is the voice of complicity.

The police deviance and corruption typologies that Vic Mackey best exemplifies based on his actions in this first episode are those of the “meat-eaters” and the “Dirty Harrys” / “Noble Causers”, with a slight undertone of “Cowboys”. The “meat-eaters” fall under the Knapp Commission typology and they actively seek opportunities in which they can exchange their power for some kind of benefit (Punch, 2009). In Vic’s case, he displayed characteristics of a meat-eater when he exchanged drugs for information with the prostitute. “Dirty Harrys” / “Noble Causers” on the other hand, are officers that use deviant and unethical tactics in order to obtain their desired outcome (Punch, 2009). Vic proved to be a Dirty Harry when he unethically assaulted the pedophile suspect aiming for a confession. The “cowboys” are known for their high levels of aggression and propensity to act tough, lack discipline, and be action-focused (Punch, 2009), which Vic assumed the role of in the beginning of the show when he punched the suspect in the stomach for causing a chase.

This fictional portrayal of law enforcement officers focuses on their corruption and deviance, and places them in the antagonist position. This representation does not emanate positive, trust-worthy vibes to its audience. Its audience is majorly regular, non-police affiliated individuals who, after watching media portrayals such as this, do not walk away feeling a healthy and more trustworthy bond with law enforcement. Instead, because their only peak into what police conduct looks like has been through the lens of fictional media. There is a lot of negative stimuli being presented through the media pertaining to police corruption and deviance, the public sees a lot of it, and for those that have very little pre-existing knowledge or information , they may be influenced and that allows the potential for their perception towards law enforcement to change. The line between entertainment and reality becomes blurred.

Vic’s blatant displays of police deviance through abuse of authority, unethical practices, and use of excessive force illustrates model officer-deviant behaviour. These corruption-oriented, emphasized, and normalized media representations of law enforcement may have a potential impact on the audiences’ perception of positive and trustworthy qualities pertaining to police officer conduct. That potential blur between fiction and non-fiction holds the possibility of bruised perceptions and subsequent trust with the police.

IMBD.  (N.D). The Shield. Summary. Retrieved at

NA. (2011). British Columbia Code of Ethics. Course Material. Crim 2355

Punch, M. (2009.). What is Corruption? In Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing (pp. 18-52). Portland: Willian Pub.

Roebuck, J.B. and T, Barker. (1974). A typology of Police Corruption. Social Problems 21(3): 423-437

22 Jump Street and the representation of policing

Posted: March 3, 2015 by kritichopra25 in Uncategorized

Movie Link:
Fictional representation of policing that features police deviance as a major theme: 22 Jump Street

Movie industries all over the world have always had its own take on how policing takes place. However, there are many misconceptions about police officers that are portrayed in these movies. Some movies tend to portray police officers as overly masculine, always-right, gets the job done on time, helps people in the community etc. Whereas, in other movies police officers are depicted as racist, alcoholic, dumber than average, unprofessional and other negative things. Some of these characteristics are seen in the movie 22 Jump Street.
22 Jump Street is an action comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. This movie was a follow up of 21 Jump Street. The two main characters in the movie are two police officers Schmidt and Jenko who are on the streets chasing narcotics. The Deputy Chief Hardy puts the two officers into an assignment where they go undercover as college students and locate the supplier of a drug known as “WHYPHY” (Work Hard Yes Play Hard Yes) that killed a student photographer buying it on campus. As the movie goes on these two police officers break almost every rule of policing to get the job done. Just like the Dirty Harry movies. The police officers demonstrated many forms of corrupt policing throughout the movie. Living a double life in a new environment presented many problems.
The depiction of police in “22 Jump Street” is not necessarily realistic in any way, shape or form. This gives a very wrong public perception of law enforcement officers. The two cops Schmidt and Jenko are portrayed as these cops that hold a below average common sense and are lazy. In addition, they are also depicted as cops that tend to be “fools” of the situations they find themselves in.
The movie starts with a recap of what happens in “21 Jump Street”. One of the clips used in the recap is of the two cops on bicycles strolling through the park and playing with their firearms, displaying the lack of duties and responsibilities they need to fulfill.
The movie quickly then shifts gears and the two officers (Jenko & Schmidt) are sent to college to solve the given case. For this assignment the department gives the officers an extremely large budget. This includes extensive amounts/variety of firearms, money and other facilities that they do not require to solve the case. Usually, this type of representation makes the public think that their local police department
As the officers get into their assignment, Jenko starts making friends with a pair of jocks named Zook and Rooster. He starts attending parties with the jocks to help him solve the case. However, partying with the college students starts to push Jenko away from his real purpose of being there. Meanwhile, Schmidt starts to talk to an art student, Maya, as he was trying to figure out about the killed student. Later on in the movie, Schmidt and Maya have sexual intercourse with each other. In addition, when Schmidt shares this news with others in the department they give him a pat on the back as it was seen as a great accomplishment for him. This went to show how it was normal for police officers to sleep and party with people without any consequences and it was an accepted norm.
Overtime when the officers fail to find the dealer or any leads per say, they turn to an “expert” for help. The “expert” being an inmate in the jail (that they caught in the last movie). The inmate tells the two to look more closely as he notices a unique tattoo on the arm of the dealer in the photograph. He insists that if they find the tattoo, they will have found their man. The clip shows how the police officers were unable to do their job and had to turn to an ex-criminal for assistant to solve the case. In addition, the way that the inmate speaks to the officer shows that there is no need for people/inmates to talk to people in the position of authority with respect.

They figure out that the person with the tattoo in the picture is just one of the jocks that buys the drugs rather than selling them. But, soon after they find the suspect on the college campus but are unable to catch him.
Closer to the end of the movie, Jenko discloses to Schmidt that he’s been offered a football scholarship and is unsure whether he wants to continue to be a police officer. Jenko was clearly unhappy with his job and the scholarship seemed as a great idea to him. He failed to realize the fact that he was still an undercover police officer and this was a fake life that he was living.
Near the climax, spring break arrives and Schmidt prepares to go after secret suspect alone. Nevertheless, Jenko asks to help so that the two can have one final mission together, and the pair head to the beach where suspect is likely to be dealing WHYPHY. They end up catching him and the movie ends with the two officers solving the case together.
If “22 Jump Street” was compared to a real life police department it would match up in almost no way or form. It fails to follow any of the general core values of policing such as honesty, professionalism, compassion, respect and accountability. However, we have to keep in mind that this movie is made solely for entertainment purposes. And what the public likes to see is things that are far from the normal. Such as, police officers playing with dangerous weapons like they are toys, officers sleeping with people, accidentally trying drugs themselves and so on. In conclusion, movies like this are made for entertainment purposes only and consumers of this type of entertainment should in no way or form take the main themes or messages conveyed by the media as the real forms of policing.

Sons of Anarchy is the story of a motorcycle club involved in gun-running and other deals with rival gangs, and the authorities. The story revolves around the Vice-President and future president of the club, Jackson “Jax” Teller and his dealings. They run several businesses, which may include illegal and legal works. Along with gun-running, they also operate a garage under their name. There are a couple different aspects to the show, one of them is related to the family life of Jackson. In this aspect, a lot of emphasis is put on Jackson, his wife and his kids. It is a constant battle between spending time with them and running errands for the club. For each of the members, their families get put on the back burner as they consider their work at the club a huge priority. The second aspect of the show would be club business. Their business mostly involves the exportation of guns at a large scale. It also focuses on their rivalries with other gangs in the area, politicians and authorities. The final and third aspect of the show is the role of the authorities. The officers in this show are shown as very corrupt and deceiving. Throughout the series, either they could go against the law and cooperate with SAMCRO, or they could fight against them and create havoc in the whole community. They were always torn between laws and peace.

They lived in a town named Charming, which was a contradiction to the realities of that town. There usually was a lot of bloodshed on and off due to the rival gangs retaliating to SAMCRO’s every step. The club consisted of several members along with a support system of some of their family members and friends. There is a President and Vice- President, all decisions must go through them, however, every decision must also get the opinion of every single member of the club. In order for them to be successful in their business, they always needed backup from their police department. The Chief of the Police, Wayne Unser, was a corrupted chief due to his dealings with the club. He would pass on highly sensitive information based on his own knowledge. This kept their business deal afloat. Unser understood that the deal with the club would keep outside violence and drugs out of Charming. In several instances, even the constables and jail guards would conspire with the club for the greater good. The constables were always in a turmoil, they were stuck between legal work and peace. It was a known fact that SAMCRO was a dangerous group of bikers who would go to any lengths if they felt threatened by anyone. Considering this at all times, some of the members of the Charming Police Department would make a deal with the club to avoid havoc. They could go against the club, however, they knew that would only result in more bloodshed.

After Unser’s retirement, we were introduced to another police officer named David Hale. His ultimate goal was to drive out SAMCRO from Charming. However, just like every other police officer in the show, Hale noticed that a deal with the club members would eventually be of some help to the department. He also began to work with some of the members in the club because he knew some of the rivals would destroy their town.

On of the officers, Eli Roosevelt, was known for his incorruptible reputation. He was given the responsibility to observe the club and stop the gun-trade. Initially, he implanted several rules that would create restrictions for the club members when they were out and about. By the end of one of the seasons, he had formed a special bond with one of the members named Juice. Occasionally he would seal a deal with Jax Teller and work towards a common goal, however, he was known for his honesty and he maintained it.

The last police officer that we saw on the show was Althea Jarry. Just like the rest of them she came off as a cop who was ready to take down the club. It all started with hatred towards the club and eventually understanding the reason for their cooperation. Jarry became romantically involved with one of the club members, Chibs. She tried to force information out of him as an honesty agreement in their relationship, but Chibs would never give up his club.

Furthermore, the way the media and shows present police officers is highly dependent on what the audience is expecting. It is always more entertaining for the audience when there is more drama, therefore, portraying police officers as negative may fulfill that demand. We know for a fact that a show which portrays the actual duties of a police officer would never succeed. People are not interested in the paper work and daily reports that they have to allocate their time on. This gives us a general perception of what is expected of television shows these days. Furthermore, any major wrongdoing committed by an officer is highlighted in every newspaper, yet they fail to broadcast the positive and commendable actions. Moreover, there is a major gap between what we see and what actually happens. Television shows are not broadcasted as realistic depictions of the manner with which they function. It is usually an exaggeration to grasp the attention of their audience. In this show, Sons of Anarchy, similar to every other show the actions of police department are shown way out of proportion. Chasing criminals at fast speeds, shooting at every chance they find, and solving all of the crimes does not represent reality. Police officers have to take action based on reasonable grounds and not suspicious, moreover, they also have to be aware of all the bystanders who could possibly be injured in the action.

At one stage in life, when we cannot tell the right from wrong, what we see on television is the truth for us. Things we may see on TV may jeopardize our thinking as we grow older. However, It would also be false to state that all the facts observed in shows are wrong. That is not the case. If were to look at how the Head of Police and the others acted out during a shooting or other chaos, we may see some similarities between fiction and reality. In the show, we saw that some of the members of the club were involved with certain police officers which they would use both ways. They both fed off the knowledge they had, to attain one goal, peace in their communities.

In 2013, Montreal Police Force’s leading expert on biker gangs, Benoit Roberge, was arrested due to allegations of him conspiring with one of the gang members he was observing. He was accused of sharing sensitive information about a police investigation regarding that gang. He had just recently been assigned to a specialized unit, which was formed using different police forces that focused on biker gang activities (Canadian Press, 2013). Another case such as this was revealed in Chicago, where a former veteran police officer was arrested for making a deal with a local gang to rob their rivals of their treasures. (Meisner, 2013)

As for the themes and messages that are received from these shows include the emphasis on police wrongdoing. All cases of wrongdoing are highlighted and broadcasted in every show to attract attention. An individual who took an oath to protect and serve the community doing the opposite grasps the attention of many. Concepts that we see in these are not necessarily reality, yet, they are not all false either. We see a mixture of reality and fiction and we get to decide how we wish to interpret it.


Biker gang expert accused of conspiring with the criminals he was watc. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from        watching/

Former Chicago cop gets 12 years for working with gang. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from

Nat. (n.d.). Police and Criminal Portrayals Through the Media: Portrayal of police in television dramas. Retrieved from

Wayne Unser. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from


Posted: March 2, 2015 by cclal5 in Uncategorized

     Police corruption and deviance have been used interchangeably to refer to violations, but are however different. Deviance is activities that are deemed to be unethical, whereas corruption involves self-interest before solving a problem. Going over this post, you will get a clear understanding of what some typologies of police deviance and corruption are, insight on the Rampart scandal, along with movies and television shows that portray what the realities and non-realities of what police work really is.

police corruption

     One kind of typology is Maurice Punch’s fieldwork, where it is an attempt to understand the diverse notifications of officers involved in deviance and corruption. Maurice Punch’s classification of officer types are narrowed down to the uniform carrier, mister average, professionals, dirty harrys, innovators, crusaders, ideological combatants, lone wolfs and the cowboys.

     Another kind of typology is Roebuck and Barker’s classification of activities were they note that “corruption is motivated by the pursuit of gain” (Roebuck & Barker, 1974). They categorized the most common categories of police corruption representations as:

Corruption of authority: just because one is a police officer, they are on the end of getting perks or gains of certain types

Shakedowns: gain for not following through with an arrest or investigation

Protection of illegal activities: protecting those involved in criminal activities by turning a blind eye

The fix: tampering with evidence

Direct criminal activities: getting commission of criminal offences for gain

Internal pay-offs: paying supervisors or bosses for favorable treatment

Flaking and padding: planting evidence on someone to set them up

Opportunistic theft: stealing from people who are being arrested

     One more typology is the Knapp Commission which is widely known for having three distinct categories to specifically describe the different grades of police officer corruption. There are police officers who are breaking the law themselves for personal or department gain and are posed as unethical. These police officers would allow people to break the law and giving protection of the illegal actions as long as these officers gained something from it instead of enforcing the law which is their job.

The three categories are the grass eaters, meat eaters and the birds. The grass eaters were known as the people who would “passively [accept] kickbacks and other unearned perks” (Punch, 2009) and officers who refused the ‘grass’ or easy money were seen as suspect or deviant. The meat eaters were the proactive carnivores where they were in search of graft by finding out “opportunities to exchange police authority for some form of benefits” (Punch, 2009). Lastly, the birds are the ones who “avoided deviant practises and kept clean” (Punch, 2009) where they generally do not intervene, since they are honest. This classic typology is based on the officer testimony that was heard before the Knapp Commission which investigated the corruption within the New York Police Department (NYPD).

     In the Rampart scandal, the main character is a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) police officer of ten years who goes by the name of Raphael Perez. He was known as a whistler-blower, since he was the one who “exposed the division’s abuses” (Reese, 2002). In 1999, since Raphael Perez pled guilty into taking cocaine from the evidence lockers, he bargained for a reduced sentence and in return he agreed to the LAPD and the District Attorney about all the “bad deeds which he and other officers were involved in” (Reese, 2002) from beginning in 1995. After the testimony, it was found out that “innocent people had been charged with crimes [that] they had not committed and were sentenced to prison terms” (Reese, 2002) which led to the charges of many officers.

According to Reese (2010), at least thirty LAPD officers, including four sergeants have been relieved of duty, suspended, fired or have quit in the connection with the department’s probe, sixty-seven convictions have been overturned and seventy officers are under investigation for committing crimes, for misconduct, or for covering up such activities. The Rampart scandal is the real life version of the movies called Serpico and L.A. Confidential where the main motive of corruption was driven by money, racism and power. Since moral and ethical leadership is weak and minorities are victimized, this created an ‘us versus them’ mentality.


      In Frank Serpico and L.A. Confidential, both films tell the upfront tales of the life of a police officer in a major city. Although these movies are about twenty-five years apart, their circumstantial background is similar, since it tells the tales about “two whistle-blowers, Frank Serpico and Officer Exley and their motivations for doing the right thing” (Reese, 2002). Frank Serpico, is a “conscientious police officer who is consistently pressured by his organizational culture to participate in various illicit activities” (Reese, 2002) whereas Officer Exley is “driven by selfish ambitions” (Reese, 2002).

     The Frank Serpico movie is about a New York police officer, Frank Serpico, who “initiates a courageous crusade to expose the systematic corruption in the NYPD” (Reese, 2002). It clearly shows that the NYPD culture is “colored with machismo, racism and corruption” (Reese, 2002).

His main frustrations stem from the “formal mission and informal culture of the police department” (Reese, 2002), since he treats the formal mission of the organization with “acute seriousness, while others abide by the more encompassing informal culture” (Reese, 2002). Frank Serpico has never shopped or took any small bribes from anyone because in doing so that would demoralize him and so he remained psychologically and socially distant from his peers. His loyalty stayed true to his early sense of what a police officer should be, to the formal regulations of his police department and has a genuine concern for the greater good of the public.

Frank Serpico’s motive was to “change the organizational culture of his police department” (Reese, 2002), but he was fighting a losing battle because the organizational culture appeared to be “too immutable to change, too arrogant to listen and too impersonal to care” (Reese, 2002). At the end, Frank Serpico becomes disappointed and disillusioned after being seemingly set up and was shot during a drug raid, he then retired on a disability pension and left the country.


     In the L.A. Confidential movie, it is about police corruption where the main character is Officer Exley. He “pushes away bribes, intolerant of police brutality, and he acts within the formal rules of the organization” (Reese, 2002). Officer Exley is the most “straitlaced, and most untrustworthy member of the department” (Reese, 2002), has no allies and is very comfortable with that.

During a situation, several LAPD officers initiated violence on inmates and Officer Exley fiercely protested this police brutality. In doing so, he was taken away and was “locked in a cell by two fellow officers” (Reese, 2002) and an investigation ensued. Officer Exley was the type who had no problem with “’ratting’ on his co-workers, giving up names” (Reese, 2002) and in doing so, he was immediately promoted.

     The blue wall of silence has been embedded into the police sub-culture and has been integrated into the police organization. Even if an officer is being questioned, he or she would claim ignorance of another officer’s wrongdoing which signifies police misconduct and corruption. These officers do it for obvious personal or department gain or to also protect and support fellow officers. Even the most honest police officers have the difficulty in reporting misconduct due to the threats of fellow co-workers of being called the snitch, rat or simply not having their backs. Some problems of the blue wall of silence comes from solidarity, alienation, insularity and secrecy. They almost always have to be suspicious of everyone’s moves, maintain an ‘us versus them’ mentality which therefore makes officers have a strong brotherhood or sisterhood for their own good.


    Dishonesty can happen at any time whether it is at the individual (rotten apples), group (rotten barrel) or organizational (rotten orchids) levels which constitutes a form of police deviance, since it is a form of overt lying. Lou Rieter, a consultant of the Chicago Police Department and former Deputy Chief of Police in Los Angeles testified that the “influence of the Code of Silence is a conscious choice various Chicago Police managers and executive officers have taken” (Hagedorn, Kmiecik, Simpson, Gradel, Zmuda, & Sterrett, 2013), since police officers do not fear being investigated by the Internal Affairs Department.

     One case study that underlines police corruption is the cases of the Marquette 10 where the police were involved in drugs, guns and gangs. The United States (U.S.) Attorney, Dan Webb’s 1982 investigation of drug dealers in Chicago’s Westside was what led to the arrest of the “ten Marquette District officers that [accepted] bribes from drug dealers” (Hagedorn, et al, 2013). The ten officers were convicted for “protecting two large drug [dealing] networks” (Hagedorn, et al, 2013) by warning dealers of police raids along with beating up rival or competing dealers and in return, these officers got “money and goods for more than three years” (Hagedorn, et al, 2013). The ten officers who were in involved with this type of corruption received prison sentences ranging from ten to twenty years.

     Louise Westmarland in “Police Ethics and Integrity: Breaking the Blue Code of Silence” (2005), analyzes “evidence from a survey of police officers who were asked about their attitudes” (Westmarland, 2005) on police corruption, unethical behavior, and minor infringements of police rules. This survey revealed that the officers who took part in this study suggest that actions involving “acquisition of goods or money” (Westmarland, 2005) are much worse than “illegal brutality or bending of the rules” (Westmarland, 2005) in order to protect colleagues from criminal proceedings. It also revealed that officers are unwilling to report “unethical behaviour by colleagues unless there is some sort of acquisitive motive” (Westmarland, 2005). These findings of the survey support the ‘blue code’ or ‘Dirty Harry’ belief systems that surround police rule bending.

     I feel like the television shows like COPS and law and order signifies the non realities of what police officers do on their job in the real world. These shows give false impressions of what really happens when police encounter suspects and doing things that actual police officers really cannot do. It gives a ‘reality’ where the police are always competent, crime-solving heroes, and where the ‘bad boys’ always get caught hence the introductory “theme song ‘bad boy’” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 317) by Inner Circle. The theme song itself is “extremely catchy, [and] contributes to create an overall effect that one might describe as ‘infotainment’” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 317) which suggests to viewers that this show is in the world of fun and entertainment when it really is dangerous.

To watch one episode of COPS, you can tell it is “not a serious documentary about police work, but a combination of amateur video footage of policing work and anything that might contribute to the entertainment of the audience” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 317) since it contains unrelated material for curiosity and entertainment purposes rather than conveying messages about criminal justice. It also creates an atmosphere of suspicion that desensitizes and conditions the audiences to view harsher punishments and police misconduct such as police brutality and unconstitutional searches are acceptable when in reality they are not.

With all these factors taken into consideration, it marks for a show that does not highlight what an actual police officer on the force would go through which gives that false hope of the work police officers do. By watching this show, the audience are “imported into the world of policing, where they can watch ‘real’ officers in action, ‘experience’ the thrill of the chase and arrest and gain some sense of what it is ‘actually like’ to be a police officer” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 311)


     The drama show Law and Order, is based on the “good cop’s struggle against a corrupt of malfunctioning system” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 312) where the judge and prosecutors main focus is to delay or frustrate the progress of justice. In the police’s point of view, the suspects are almost always automatically labelled as criminals, since the system is only represented from “one point of view and from the police point of view, prosecutors, and judges undermine the work that has been done to apprehend the suspect” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 312).

In the first half of the show, the cops are the main characters and once the suspect is apprehended, the “prosecutors then become the protagonists of the second half” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 312) of the show. During the second half of the show, it follows a more of a “legalistic story of how prosecutors evaluate the evidence gathered by the cops” (Valverde, 2006, pg. 313) to decide whether or not to lay a charge and what kind if it goes through.

law and order

     To conclude, I hope that you got a clear understanding to what police corruption and deviance is through the help of some typologies, insight on the Rampart scandal, along with movies and television shows that portray what the reality and non-realities of what police work is.


Hagedorn, J., Kmiecik, B., Simpson, D., Gradel, T., Zmuda, M., & Sterrett, D. (2013). Crime, Corruption and Cover-ups in the Chicago Police Department. Political Science. 7, pp.1-54. Chicago: University of Illinois.

Punch, M. (2009). What is Corruption? In Police Corruption: Deviance, Accountability and Reform in Policing (pp. 18–52). Portland: Willan Pub.

Reese, R. (2002). Whistle-blowing into a tangled web: the case of serpico, L.A. confidential, and the LAPD’s rampart division. Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 9(2), pp.105-11. California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from

Roebuck, J.B. and Barker, T. (1974). A Typology of Police Corruption.

Valverde, M. (2006). From the hard-boiled detective to the pre-crime unit. In Greer, C. (Ed), Crime and media: a reader. 2010. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group

Westmarland, L. (2005). Police ethics and integrity: breaking the blue code of silence. Policing & Society, 15(2), pp.145-165