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Police Officer Crimes and Police Integrity

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2017
3 pages
In this video and accompanying transcript, Dr. Philip Stinson of Bowling Green State University discusses his research findings on crimes committed by police officers, with attention to how he collected information on police officer crimes, how many arrested officers were in his sample, and what his research means for law enforcement agency policy.
In the interest of increasing the validity of the data used in the research, triangulation is used. If there are a number of news sources that cover a case of police officer crime, researchers attempt to examine all the available news sources. Relevant AP wire stories are also examined. When available, court records of relevant cases available online are examined. If a docket sheet is available, it is examined for the criminal complaint, arrest warrants, and other case information. Given these data sources, the research includes only cases where an officer has been arrested or indicted. Seven years of data were coded for the years 2005 through 2011. This included 6,724 arrest cases that involved 5,545 individual officers who were employed by just over 2,500 non-Federal law enforcement agencies in just over 1,200 counties and independent cities across the Country. A number of policy implications were drawn from the study. First, law enforcement agencies should have a written policy that compels officers to disclose any arrest for a crime. Second, law enforcement agencies should consider conducting annual background checks on their officers, as well as annual criminal checks. This is particularly important in determining whether an officer has been convicted of a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in the previous year or has been the subject of a domestic violence protection order.

Date Published: February 1, 2017