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History of Police Corruption in the United States The challenges facing the Chicago Police Department today are not new nor are they unique to this city The problem reaches back as far as the establishment of the first organized police forces in the United States Corruption has taken many forms and has continued to plague the police departments of nearly every major city Police corruption may change form over time but its roots are firmly planted in American history In The Development of the American Police An Historical Overview Uchida notes that if there is a common theme that can be used to characterize the police in the 19th Century it is the large-scale corruption that occurred in most police departments across the United States Uchida 1993 In Forces of Deviance Understanding the Dark Side of Policing Kappeler Sluder and Alpert point out that corruption among police is not new or peculiar to the late 20th century To study the history of police is to study police deviance corruption and misconduct Kappeler et al 1994 While corruption has been a consistent and pervasive problem in law enforcement the nature of corrupt activity has changed dramatically over the years The trend to professionalize police forces through improved recruitment training salaries and working conditions has resulted in fewer corrupt officers who unfortunately are now involved in more serious criminal activities Low-level passive forms of corruption ie systemic bribery schemes non-enforcement of the law collusion have been replaced by more aggressive forms of corruption Todays police corruption is most likely to involve drugs organized crime and relatively sophisticated but small groups of officers engaged in felonious criminal activities The cycle of police scandals in New York City provide a clear example of this trend In the 1970s New Yorks Knapp Commission on Police Corruption identified two general forms of corruption -- police officers involved in relatively low level forms of corruption and misconduct and those
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