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Law and Order Roundtable: Administrator Misconduct

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 50 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2002 Pages: 118-126
Neal Trautman
Date Published
9 pages
This article discusses the causes for and solutions to misconduct committed by senior level police administrators.
The single most damaging category of misconduct in law enforcement is administrators intentionally ignoring obvious ethical problems. The best predictor of future behavior is past actions. By having superficial background investigations, making recruitment a low priority, or having a leadership style that doesn’t retain officers because they don’t like being treated with a lack of respect and dignity breeds misconduct later on. Having disgruntled field-training officers who don’t feel appreciated, aren’t led by positive role modeling, and don’t receive compensation is another area of misconduct. If these officers replicate a condescending, negative, pessimistic, cynical view of the department, eventually there will be a culture that is negative, pessimistic, and cynical. Political interference is another form of misconduct. One form of this is political interference that results in lowering the higher standards of those coming into the department. Another form is interference with promotions where a friend, relative, or close associate is promoted over others. Other organizational flaws are leaders who role model misconduct on a daily basis as well as administrators who know and intentionally look the other way; a sense of victimization derived out of anger and frustration; a lack of accountability; and lack of administrative courage. Bribery, lack of training, lack of control, political control, lack of education and brutality are the common manifestations of integrity lapses in law enforcement. One solution is State post commission and training counsel directors throughout the State. Creation of a single disciplinary system for all employees would significantly reduce the claim that executive misconduct is protected or encouraged by a double standard.