Monday, May 8, 2006, 11:12 PMThe society-at-large hypothesis offered by O.W. Wilson asserted that society itself may be responsible for corrupting public servants such as police officers. O.W. Wilson believed that these was a high level of corruption in the Chicago Police Department because the community extended gratuities given to doormen, and other service oriented positions to those is public service. In other words officers were offered small amounts of money in exchange for protection or other services. Police officers came to expect these gratuities as a bellhop might expect a tip for bringing luggage up to a hotel room or a valet might expect a tip for parking a car.
The structural or affiliation hypothesis is the belief that values trickle down from the brass to the rank and file – that leaders set examples for their departments. Also, leaders who do not have a grasp or control over their departments or who are otherwise ineffective may be promoting corruption.
The term “Blue wall of protection.” is what comes to my mind. Other officers and department leaders who keep the lid on corrupt activities. An example of this would be fictional character “Detective Vic Mackey” from the Television show “The Shield” who supports one gang, and lets them get away with selling drugs in his area of L.A. In order to stop street violence and who’s department and police chief cover up his behavior.
The rotten apple hypothesis is the belief that some people are just bad to the core. They may have been exposed to bad examples during childhood, or from peers. The police officer who is a rotten apple may be involved in selling drugs, robbery, murder and other serious crimes. In some isolated instances divisions of police departments have had a bundle of rotten apples that have turned these agencies into nothing better that a traditional gang of thugs.