Date of Award

12-21-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Daniel R. Lee, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Dennis Giever, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. R. Paul McCauley, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Dr. David L. Myers, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study, conceptualized as newsmaking criminology, is an exploration of police crime in the United States, as measured by arrests of sworn law enforcement officers with general powers of arrest employed by nonfederal law enforcement agencies. Data were collected from published news reports primarily using the Google News search engine. This analysis includes data on 2,119 cases involving 1,746 sworn law enforcement officers employed by 1,047 state and local (nonfederal) law enforcement agencies representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were arrested for committing one or more criminal offenses during the period of January 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007. The findings of this study show that police crime occurs in nonmetropolitan, urban, suburban, and rural communities, and affects officers employed by primary state police agencies, sheriff’s departments, county police departments, municipal police departments, and special police departments (e.g., university/college police departments, park police departments, etc.). It involves officers at all ages and years of service levels (from entry level rookies to those officers in the sunset of their careers, and at all periods in between), at all ranks within law enforcement agencies, off duty and on duty, and against victims known and unknown to the arrested officers, and against victims of all ages. Both the typology of police crime and Ross’ taxonomy of police crime provide useful conceptualizations to examine and reliably predict factors relating to arrests of sworn law enforcement officers. Police crime is multidimensional and involves crimes against the citizenry, internal crimes against the organization, official capacity and individual capacity crime, economically-motivated crime, violent crime, sex-related crime, drug-related crime, and alcohol-related crime.

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