Annotation:  This study determined the prevalence and nature of police crime in the United States based on arrest statistics; identified factors that influenced how an agency responded to arrests of its officers; and examined whether officer arrests correlated with other forms of police misconduct.

Google News searches identified 6,724 cases nationwide during 2005 through 2011. The arrests involved 5,545 individual sworn officers employed by 2,529 non-Federal State and local law enforcement agencies in 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. The rate of officers arrested was 0.72 officers arrested per 1,000 officers or a rate of 1.7 officers per 100,000 population nationwide. Data and discussion are provided for the following types of crime for which police were arrested: sex-related crimes, alcohol-related crimes, drug-related crimes, violence-related crimes, and profit-motivated crimes. The cases identified in this research stemmed largely from opportunities inherent in the context of police work, although 60 percent of all of the cases identified in this study occurred when the officer was technically off-duty. The organizational response to police crimes varied widely across all of these crime types. An arrest in itself mattered much less than the type of underlying criminal behavior that prompted the arrest. Sworn officers were known to have lost their jobs in only 38 percent of the alcohol-related cases, but lost their jobs in 72 percent of the sex-related arrests and 70 percent of the drug-related cases. The odds that an officer will lose his/her job increased significantly if they were criminally convicted on at least one charged offense. This study recommends that State and local law enforcement agencies conduct routine annual criminal background checks of every sworn officer and install comprehensive personnel assessment systems that collect a wide range of data. 84 tables, 28 figures, and approximately 150 references


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