Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Vincent E. Henry
Although “police misconduct” is a rather sweeping and somewhat amorphous concept, it is generally used in reference to illegitimate police behaviors or activities that are related to the performance of an officer's official duties and violate state or federal criminal laws, department policies, professional ethics, or administrative rules and procedures. Police misconduct is an important public policy issue as well as a recurring problem that is widely discussed and debated by police officers, police administrators and executives, lawmakers and public officials, and members of the public. The diverse definitions of misconduct are, like the behaviors, motivations, and contexts involved, highly complex and multifaceted. Even a cursory review of the history of American policing reveals that misconduct has been a perennial and enduring problem in policing, and that repeated police misconduct scandals have been a powerful (if not entirely effective) impetus for the reform of police organizations as well as the ...