A while back a buddy of mine said to me “I would never want to become a cop because if I did I’d be corrupt”. It was an interesting statement to me because I had never thought of it quite like that. Like most other kids, I too had wanted to become a cop at some point in my childhood. But one thought that didn’t cross my mind at the time is whether or not I’d be corrupt.
Last night we were at a club and I was chatting with an officer who was on duty working at the club. He definitely wasn’t the straightest cop I’ve ever met, but who am I to judge him? What if I were in his shoes? If I were on duty, in a position of power, would I act like my normal self, or would I adopt a serious attitute to reflect my position and duties as an officer? When I was a kid the answer was simple: I would serve in the best interests of the general public. But in reality would I not sometimes put my own self interests ahead of the general public? It’s hard to say until you’ve actually been in that position. He has been a cop for 9 years.
The level of corruption is dependent on the society the officer belongs to. Can an officer be corrupt without breaking the law? Yes; there are things an officer can do that makes him or her corrupt but doesn’t necessarily break the law. It all comes down to his morals. A cop might use his position of power to further his own self interests or he might use his power to help his friend’s business. In any event, Police forces have a code of conduct that officers need to adhere to in order to maintain their positions. But what goes on behind the scenes depends on the particular officer.
In the case of my friend, his point is that as a police officer you will be put in situations where you can abuse your power, and sometimes it’s hard to resist the temptation.
In the early 2000’s I was at a friend’s house-party when the police showed up because they had received a noise complaint. The two particular officers who arrived at the party were probably the same age as me at the time (Around 21 years old). As a joke, I asked the officer if I could see his gun. He pulled his gun out of its holster, and went to hand it over to me. As I went to grab it, he pulled it back, smiled and said “Not so fast”. Surely pulling your gun out of its holster as a joke goes against some sort of rule but at the same time, he was just making a joke; acting like a human. Can you blame him?