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Cultural Analysis Police Officers

A. Current Policing: Corruption, Violence and Racism?

C. History of Police Cultural Corruption

Interacting Levels of Culture That Shape Police Culture

Social Elements That Shape Police Culture

Balancing Different External and Internal Environments

Three Fundamentals of Police Culture

Durkheim & The Militarization of Policing

Administrative Irresponsibility as Enabler

Police Rituals – “A Cop Thing”

Suicide and Addiction – “Machismo Syndrome”

On the NBC Nightly News show of July 8, 2002, Inglewood, California, police officers were caught on amateur video using excessive force on a 16-year-old teenager who allegedly assaulted police officers. The teen, Donovan Jackson, is represented by a lawyer who argued on the Nightly News that “Nothing has changed since Rodney King”, another infamous incident of police excessive force caught on video tape. Such notorious examples of disturbing behavior by police officers have many examining the police officer subculture at work in American society. Many feel it has evolved into a culture of corruption, violence, racism, and silence – one that lacks integrity and ethics from top to bottom.

In examining police officer subculture, we first need to define a culture. According to Keily and Peek (2002: 169), “Police culture involves: a pattern of basic assumptions – invented, discovered or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problem of external adaptation and internal integration – that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members in the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems.” Unfortunately, the beliefs, values, and worldviews held by many police officers in modern policing are tainted by organizational corruption that creates a “blue wall of silence” behind which officers shield their own unethical and corrupt actions and those of other o...

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