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The Narrow Path

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Posted about 1 year ago

 

This is primarily a question for experienced LEOs.


I have heard many reports lately in my general area about officers being arrested and convicted of drug abuse and distribution. I know that corruption isn't new to the law enforcement community, but it seems to be getting worse (or more public) lately. This has not changed my resolve to become a police officer, however it does raise a few questions:


1. What makes cops so vulnerable to corruption? Aren't people in LE supposed to have high standards and morals? Many officers I have been in contact with still seem to hold those values, but I'm wondering if they are part of a dying breed.


2. Upon entering the force, how does a recruit identify the people in the department who are less than honorable?


3. What steps should a rookie take to protect him/herself from being the fall guy for higher-ups that are pursuing unlawful interests?


Please be aware that I still have a great respect for those of you who maintain high moral and ethical standards and that I am not accusing anyone of wrongdoing. I am simply trying to learn about the ins and outs of a great career.


Thanks for your input!


Djembeguy

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

Relax and take a deep breath. You are way over thinking this. Years ago we had an officer over extend himself and accepted a $500.00 bribe. He was the last one we would have suspected. My concern during my career was to keep myself clean and trouble free. Where are you in the processing? Your concern should be making application and landing the position. Let IA concentrate on suspected dirty cops. If you attempt to play watch dog I can assure you, down the line you will be set up. Your brothers will stack the deck. Trust me on this one.

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Djembeguy says ...



.....SNIP.....


1. What makes cops so vulnerable to corruption?


 What makes anyone so vulnerable to corruption?  Police Officers are people just like everyone else and if we allow ourselves to be influenced, we can fall just as easily as other members of society.


Aren't people in LE supposed to have high standards and morals?


Yes, we are supposed to have high standards and morals and many, if not most of us do.  But it takes work on the part of the individual to keep and maintain those standards.


2. Upon entering the force, how does a recruit identify the people in the department who are less than honorable?


The same way you have identified it in those who you have encountered so far in your life.


3. What steps should a rookie take to protect him/herself from being the fall guy for higher-ups that are pursuing unlawful interests?


Understand that life is about choices and that with choices come rewards for good ones and consequences for bad ones.  LIke anyone else, it can be very easy to fall into the trappings of someone else if you are not strong enough to stand on your own.


Several years ago (1981) the LAPD was rocked by a group of officers working the Hollywood Division.  Officers responding to alarm calls (many created by them using marbles in slingshots to break the storefront windows) took merchandise belonging to the stores, hiding the merchandise in the trunks of their patrol cars.  The case broke when a young officer, new to the shift, found himself participating in some of the crimes and feeling some guilt of his own, eventually reported the incidents resulting in a huge internal affairs investigation.  While none received jail time, several were placed on probation and many lost their jobs as a result of the investigation.


All of these former officers swore an oath to uphold the law.  When and why did they start on the path of their own destruction (one officer was killed in a traffic accident but it was suspected by some as a way to prevent him from turning states evidence and testifying against others)?  I can't answer that.  Ultimately, I can only be responsible for myself and the choices I make.  My guidelines and compass are patterned after this matrix.  Their order is interchangeable.  If one is out of whack, so are the others.


Always be found:


1) With the RIGHT PEOPLE


2) In the RIGHT PLACE


3) At the RIGHT TIME


4) Doing the RIGHT THINGS



Like the gate keeper in the movie Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade / Search For The Holy Grail..... When Indiana Jones and the bad guy in the movie encountered the gatekeeper and all of the goblets, the gatekeeper said, "You must choose..... Choose wisely."


www . you tube . com / watch ? v = 0H3 rdf I28s0

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

Thanks SkoolCop! I see your posts in many of the forums and am consistantly impressed by what you say. As uncledennis1 said, I may be overthinking this. Seems like all the things you stated in your reply were common sense. I'm looking forward to working with people like you who can help me learn to temper my overactive problem-anticipation.


 


Djembeguy

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

Djembeguy says ...



Thanks SkoolCop! I see your posts in many of the forums and am consistantly impressed by what you say. As uncledennis1 said, I may be overthinking this. Seems like all the things you stated in your reply were common sense. I'm looking forward to working with people like you who can help me learn to temper my overactive problem-anticipation.


 


Djembeguy



When common sense isn't so common and in some cases, even less popular.........Dare to be different.

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Rated +2 | Posted about 1 year ago

 

I am going to give you some words of advice. Keep in mind I have been a cop for 32 years and a chief for 8 of these years. I read people very well. You have some issues. This issue could be the kiss of death when you process. Even the best cops fear someone like you. If/when you are appointed if you keep close tabs on your brothers and sisters the word will circulate and you may be titled a snitch. I worked with a snitch for years and observed him going in first on hot calls and those slowing the pace when he needed assistance. Get a grip on your issues or it will eat you alive. The end of this story is the officer/snitch committed a couple of minor infractions which would have generally been a dressing down and he was dismissed. Since word travels from agency to agency he could not land another cop job. He just faded away. Don't be this person.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

I wouldn't say there is an increase in police corruption. Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard than other citizens. They take an oath to protect and serve, and when one of them screws up, it is scooped up by the media because of this.


In any career field, there are bound to be corrupt employees. People in the accounting department for a company take a little money of the side, or people who work in retail steal from their employers, etc. You don't here about these as often because the news media is a market-driven industry. They report what will get them higher ratings than their competitor.


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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

 What they said ..... yup.


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Corrupt Cops? No way... You must have mistakingly heard the word Law and thought they meant Cops, but in fact they meant LAWyers! Seriously, if you are aspiring to be a LEO, then I'd really listen to the advice you've heard so far, and take it. If you are only " in process". Right now why are you concerned about who may or may not be a bad apple already? You're worried about something you may never even have the chance to encounter. Are you concerned you may easily be turned if you get pinned? I don't mean any offense, but I don't think I've ever heard this question from someone who hasn't even hit the academy. To be honest if that's the confidence you have in the profession or yourself, you may ask a better, more applicable question. "Is this job for me?" Right now you should be looking at how you can stand out from your competition, and what the job ACTUALLY entails. You may or may not ever run into any type of corrupted, or authority abusive Officer. Just stick to seeing if a door opens for you or not, then if you ever encounter such a thing, as long as your not jammed up, have confidence they'll be found out by IA, or the IGO. Good luck, hope that helps, but remember working in a Post Office is probably more cautioned. They even coined a term for their "bad apples". God bless, and I do wish you the best on your journey.


"People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. "

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

man oh man, i am sooo impressed with the answers and counsel my brothers have offered on this topic.   weez be getin soze much gooder at this here .

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

 Choosing a career in law enforcement requires perseverance, good judgment and a positive attitude.  It's in your own best interest not to spread negativity around! also, avoid blame games, and follow your own instincts.....and DON'T be the guy who gives up information about another person to get their own sorry @ss out of trouble. 

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

Lots of questions :P No problem, I don't mind answering.


ssu459: You asked how many reports I have heard lately. I have heard 2 on the radio in the last 2 months that were serious infractions (both from surrounding county departments). In addition to that, I have read at least four on this and other websites that provide law enforcement news. In one of the two cases on the radio I believe multiple officers were involved in the illegal actions.


TM17931: You have several questions which I will try to address. Your first was "why are you concerned about who may or may not be a bad apple already?"  I have always been taught by wise men and women around me to look ahead for the dangers you may encounter and mentally prepare for them. Sometimes I take this advice a bit too far, but it has been effective in keeping me safe thus far.


Secondly, you asked if I thought I would be easily turned. The answer is a resounding NO. I have had many chances in both my experience as a security guard and as a blue collar oilfield man to become corrupt. Between the values and wisdom that my family drilled into me as a child and the sheer grace of God, I have not been caught up in anything sketchy.


As for your comment about confidence, I believe that we are all capable of sin. But for the grace and mercy of God we would all be in a living hell. Confidence in a system can be shaken. I have been told by several on this site to wait for the academy, they will teach me everything I need to know. However, I see the reports and I have to ask myself what the academy forgot to teach these individuals about staying out of trouble. I learned a long time ago that my education is my own responsibility and that there are people in the world who have loads of experience and knowledge. That is why I have asked these questions.


uncledennis1: You made the comment that I have some issues. I would be glad to hear what those are. If you would rather not speak of them on this forum for whatever reason, please feel free to pm me.


Again, thank you all for your advice. I am impressed with your willingness to give me the benefit of the doubt and answer my questions.


To all who serve: Be safe and may God guide your steps!

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

One thing that I think was not addressed is that with the economy these days that individuals are getting into the law enforcement field as a job and not a calling, these people maybe don't have the same values as do those of us that came to the job because it was what we wanted to do not because we needed a job.


"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, do nothing." Dante

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

To the OP. I won't outline your issues as every cop that reads this post knows what they are. I am curious of your age and level of education. At this point I am not certain you will land a cop job. I can assure you, if you worked for me the first time you whispered in my ear about another copper you would be guarding the swing set at the city park in between calls for service. Please keep us apprised when/if you process. I certainly am interested.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

Thought it over before I decided to reply.  Many times the reason for corrupt cops is from a lowering of hiring standards.  This can be due to a need for many officers or to be 'politically correct' and lower standardards for certain groups.  This problem starts then even before a person is hired, a questional person is hired and then 'goes to the dark side' so to speak.  Another reason can be due to injury, leading to addiction to pain killers and a need to get pain killers when no longer medically needed or prescribed.  Finally, problems can arise when a officer gets to living beyond his means and sees opportunity for illegal financial gain and believes he own't get caught.  As others have pointed out this is actually rare in LEO's, when was the last time you heard of a crooked politician or media person.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

uncledennis1: I belive it is against the policies of most message boards to post personal details. However, I will tell you that I have a Bachelor of Science degree from a highly noteworthy and accredited university.


Secondly, you would accuse me of being a snitch. My original post does not imply that at all. Neither do any of my replies. If I were a whispering snitch as you seem to believe, I would be out of a job and so would half of the people I have worked with and for. I am offended at your willingness to defame someone you do not know.


The questions in my original post were chosen specifically because I didn't see anyone else asking them. Those of you who seem to have been around the message boards for a while have answered the same questions many times and I thought it would be interesting for you to have something new on the menu.


Cedardale: Thank you for your post. I appreciate you taking the time to answer. It is my goal to avoid ever living beyond my means. I do agree with you that there is a national lowering of standards in the US for every profession.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

Djembeguy says ...



.....SNIP.....


I have been told by several on this site to wait for the academy, they will teach me everything I need to know. However, I see the reports and I have to ask myself what the academy forgot to teach these individuals about staying out of trouble.


.....SNIP.....


.....SNIP.....



I take issue with this statement.


The academy will teach you the basic principles of law enforcement.  The academy (at least mine did) drilled INTEGRITY into the cadets.  That said, it comes down to the CHARACTER of the individual.  By the time a person is old enough to enter the academy (21 years old everywhere I can think of), INTEGRITY and CHARACTER is something the individual has or does not have.  Will the individual be swayed when temptation comes?  Will the individual bite when financial times are tough?  The banner over the top of the entry gate of my academy states, "ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE."  I believe that this extends to our careers and is not just limited to our time on the hill (in the academy).  Some may have gone in with high morals and then allowed themselves to be caught up in the little things that later turn into much larger things and before they know it, they are in way over their heads.  You have to decide which one you will be when your metal is tested...... and it will be tested.   

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

SkoolCop: It is good that you took issue with the statement. That is the point of this thread, to incite positive discussion and to learn from those of you who are experienced. I'm glad to hear that they still teach those morals in the Academy you attended. I hope that is the case with every academy! I take from your statement that you believe that the values held before the academy are the primary source of a person's long time integrity. The academy then, would be a tool to strengthen the convictions a person already has rather than to teach new convictions to those without them. Am I correct?


ssu459: Actually, a large part of my degree did concentrate on psychology. The original goal of this thread was to spark an interesting and valuable discussion that would prove useful to prospective LEO's like myself. Hmmmm....It seems to have done just that. Many have offered great advice and others have charged me specifically and (vicariously) others who have read this thread to look hard at themselves before choosing to pursue a law enforcement career. Rather than post another "Am I cut out for law enforcement" thread, I thought I would go about it another way. :)


As to your statement about the reports about rotten LEOs, Here are links to some of the stories I have been following. Some specifically from my area and some links from this very website that you might recognize. Thanks for asking.


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/03/01/texas-sheriff-arrested-on-theft-abuse-power-charges/


http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/texas-sheriff-indicted-by-travis-county-grand-jury


http://www.easttexasradio.com/LoadArticle.php?id=8905&cat_id=3


http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/180929-san-jose-police-detective-arrested-charged-for-possessing-sexual-photos-of-minor


http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/180902-waltham-police-chief-resigns-following-conviction

 


 


Djembeguy

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

I only axe that if you apply please keep us up to date on your processing. I am interested. Be sure to inform the agency of your concerns.I may add in 1982 I busted the nads of a chief of police for some lower level corruption. It buried him. I only wish you had worked for me. I would have had lots of fun with you.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

"incite" "spark"?  What's wrong with "encourage" or "stimulate" rather than 'goad' or 'ignite'? 


"...rather than teach new convictions to those without them"  Why state the obvious role of police academies?  Are you truly clarifying things to yourself?  Because you seem like a pretty smart individual to me.  


"I'm glad to hear they still teach those morals in the Academy you attended.  I hope that is the case with every academy."  If you have so little regard for the screening process, if you are so burdened with doubt, I can hardly picture you ever satisfied.  I hope your apparent bias against what you term a 'dying breed' is dispeled by responses here.  


Integrity isn't taught at the Academy.  It is instilled and nurtured long before a person gets the barest notion to apply for a job in law enforcement. 


Everyone knows the screening process is designed so that certain candidates will NEVER get a shot at being sponsored through an academy.  That includes hyper-vigilant types who are predisposed to curry favor from their superiors by tattling on real or imagined petty infractions where peer pressure or other ordinary means to curtail will suffice.  Assigning oneself the role of Unofficial Internal Affairs Officer is a peculiar vanity.  It carries the risk of deteriorating morale. 


No profession tolerates this kind of behavior, least of all one where public safety is at stake.  


On a social level, the more offensive corrollary would be to employ cameraderie in order to enlist participants in a not-so-friendly dialogue that is actually a snare - one where couched terms and veiled accusation infer their profession is rife with creeping corruption. 


A peculiar gambit.


Djembeguy says ...



SkoolCop: It is good that you took issue with the statement. That is the point of this thread, to incite positive discussion and to learn from those of you who are experienced. I'm glad to hear that they still teach those morals in the Academy you attended. I hope that is the case with every academy! I take from your statement that you believe that the values held before the academy are the primary source of a person's long time integrity. The academy then, would be a tool to strengthen the convictions a person already has rather than to teach new convictions to those without them. Am I correct?


ssu459: Actually, a large part of my degree did concentrate on psychology. The original goal of this thread was to spark an interesting and valuable discussion that would prove useful to prospective LEO's like myself. Hmmmm....It seems to have done just that. Many have offered great advice and others have charged me specifically and (vicariously) others who have read this thread to look hard at themselves before choosing to pursue a law enforcement career. Rather than post another "Am I cut out for law enforcement" thread, I thought I would go about it another way. :)


As to your statement about the reports about rotten LEOs, Here are links to some of the stories I have been following. Some specifically from my area and some links from this very website that you might recognize. Thanks for asking.


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/03/01/texas-sheriff-arrested-on-theft-abuse-power-charges/


http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/texas-sheriff-indicted-by-travis-county-grand-jury


http://www.easttexasradio.com/LoadArticle.php?id=8905&cat_id=3


http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/180929-san-jose-police-detective-arrested-charged-for-possessing-sexual-photos-of-minor


http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/180902-waltham-police-chief-resigns-following-conviction

 


 


Djembeguy


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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

 Djembeguy


What part of a BS degree focuses largely on psychology? I am simply curious because I have a psych minor and my house mate who has a BS has only taken a single intro level psych class.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

A BS in Criminal Justice has numerous Psych. or Sociology classes that were mandatory for me to take in order to obtain my BS in CJ.  So much so that I was able to pick up a minor in Sociology or Pshych. (I chose Sociology) simply by completing my BS in CJ.  I only chose to minor in Sociology after realizing I had to take all of those classes anyway on the way to earning my CJ degree.

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Rate This | Posted about 1 year ago

 

I sent the OP a message and axed him to respond to this discussion. 7/20/13. 1740 Hrs.

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uncledennis1 says ...



I sent the OP a message and axed him to respond to this discussion. 7/20/13. 1740 Hrs.



UD1 let us know how that goes.