A new study from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) found 1,100 law enforcement officers are arrested a year, in other words three cops a day.
The study compiled data from 2005 to 2011, and not only found an average of three cops are arrested a day, but the number of arrests has risen over the years, as reported by The Washington Post Wednesday.
The number of police arrests has gone up every year since 2006, except 2009 — where it took a slight dip. What’s more, of the 6,724 total cases researchers looked at, a full 10 percent, or 674 officers, were arrested on more than one occasion.
“Police crimes are not uncommon,” Philip M. Stinson, lead researcher at BGSU told The Washington post. “Our data directly contradicts some of the prevailing assumptions and the proposition that only a small group of rotten apples perpetrate the vast majority of police crime.”
The study notes 60 percent of the arrests happened when the officers were off-duty, but Stinson explains, “a significant portion of these so-called off-duty crimes also lies within the context of police work and the perpetrator’s role as a police officer, including instances where off-duty officers flash a badge, an official weapon, or otherwise use their power, authority, and the respect afforded to them as a means to commit crime.”
“This is probably the tip of the iceberg,” Cara Rabe-Hemp, Illinois State University professor who studies law enforcement, told The Washington Post.
The number of police arrested is not anything of note “when you take into account there are between 850,000 and 950,000 law enforcement officers,” according to Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
The study highlights an apparent issue within metropolitan departments, where 85 percent of the arrests happened.
“Stinson thought that number underrepresented how much crime police commit, both because news articles may not capture every arrest and also because police agencies may allow officers to resign in lieu of arrest because ‘they don’t want to air their dirty laundry,'” The Washington Post article points out.
The so-called “Blue Wall of Silence” may also contribute to the data reflecting a lower number than is true. This silence refers to cops not reporting other officers for crimes committed because they are part of the same team and don’t want to be ostracized. In the instances where cops do out fellow officers, they can be met with backlash from their colleagues.
“Whistle-blowing by police officers is all too rare and, in those rare cases when police officers do display the courage and integrity necessary to report misconduct by their fellow officers, they are often faced with being ostracized by fellow officers, intimidation, firing, and/or threats to their safety on the job,” wrote Bill Berkowitz of Buzz Flash in a 2015 article.
One such instance was Joseph Crystal, former Baltimore police officer, who came forward about a fellow officer beating a detained man. Crystal reportedly found a dead rat on his windshield and his sergeant told him, “If you snitch, your career is done. Nobody’s going to work with you.”
After making the complaint, two calls from Crystal for backup were ignored, no other officers would ride with him and he was demoted from a position with security clearance working with the FBI to an overnight burglary detail.
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