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
Police Code of Silence
Carl B. Klockars
Variously referred to as “The Blue Wall, “The Blue Wall of Silence,” “The Blue Curtain,” “The Code of Silence,” or simply “The Code,” the concept refers to the informal prohibition in the occupational culture of policing that discourages the reporting of misconduct by fellow police officers. Exactly what behavior is covered by the Code varies enormously among police agencies. In some agencies, it may cover only relatively low-level misconduct; in others, it may cover corruption of even the most serious degree. Moreover, the Code differs not only in the type of behavior it covers but also with respect to the people to whom the benefits of its coverage are extended. In some agencies, the Code is largely limited to police partners who enjoy, vis-à-vis one another, a testimonial immunity that police liken to traditionally privileged relationships between husband and wife, physician and patient, or attorney and client. In other departments, ...