Twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year, this particular division of our government has a responsibility to enforce the criminal law as well as preserve the public peace. More than any other government official, police interact with citizens often to maintain a key role- a civil society. Understood that this role provides a substantial amount of power and authority over the public- tied in with power, is corruption. Acting U.S Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil states “ The criminal action today dismantles an entire network of officers who, we allege, used their badges and their guns not to uphold the law, but to break it” (Schmalleger, 2018, p. 174).
Since the early days of policing, corruption has been an ongoing problem. What constitutes corruption is not always clear. It is determined in recognition as corruptions “slippery slope”. This “slippery slope” phenomenon suggests that even small gratuities can lead to acceptance of a larger, riskier bribe. Netflix film The Seven Five demonstrates an opportunity for misconduct. Michael Dowd, a former police officer seized an opportunity to create a greater profit. Michael stole money from drug dealers and sooner or later, recruited his partner into doing so as well. Thus expanding his criminal ring.
Eventually, Michael Dowd and his partner began protecting a drug cartel leader where they served by providing protection, information about raids, and transporting kilos of cocaine as police escorts. In the midst of it all, Dowd was convicted and sentenced to fourteen years in prison (Russel, The Seven Five Movie). Criminologist Edwin Sutherland applies the concept of differential association specifically to the study of deviant behavior. (Shmalleger, 2018, p.176). He makes the postulation that continuous association of one person with another would make them similar. Sutherland makes this assumption about criminals, and not so much about officers. Officers are exposed to very low pay and because of this, it indicated that their work was not valued. They began to develop a jaded attitude toward their community. Low pay may have been critical to corruption, pay grows will never compete with the astounding amount of money from dealing with contraband- typically for personal gain.
Officers are consistently making moral and practical complexity decisions on situations. A broader discussion about police corruption leads to police culture. However, police culture is not as convincing nor a monolithic social force that works in the same way in the same setting. Perceptions of unfairness