Police integrity: rankings of scenarios on the Klockars scale by management cops

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 8 November 2011



Grothoff, G. (2011), "Police integrity: rankings of scenarios on the Klockars scale by management cops", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 34 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/pijpsm.2011.18134daa.004



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Police integrity: rankings of scenarios on the Klockars scale by management cops

Police integrity: rankings of scenarios on the Klockars scale by “management cops”

Article Type: Perspectives on policing From: Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Volume 34, Issue 4

Gennaro F. Vito, Scott Wolfe, George E. Higgins, and William F. WalshCriminal Justice Review2011Vol. 36pp. 152-164

The nature of police work as a discretionary job that takes place outside of the public eye provides opportunity for corrupt behavior. Measuring police corruption becomes essential to maintain the integrity of the police and the criminal justice system in the view of the public. This article examines corruption from the view of police supervisors and compares the results to similar studies.

Vito et al. (2011) use Klockar’s scale to measure integrity. This scale is comprised of 11 scenarios. This method attempts to reduce the bias from survey research. A series of questions follow each scenario assessing seriousness, discipline, and willingness to report. Management officers comprise a convenience sample drawn from the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville. In all, 208 respondents completed the survey between 2005 and 2007. As an extension of the results Vito et al. (2011) then compare previous findings, with their own, that used Klockar’s scale. This allows for a comparison between management officers and US line officers, as well as management officers from Croatia and Finland.

The results show consistency between management and line officers on the seriousness of the scenario. In addition, the discipline that should and would follow a violation of a scenario on the Klockar’s scale shows consistency between the “management cops” (middle managers) and sergeants. However, management cops, sergeants and the Croatian management officers did not believe that driving an inebriated officer home to avert a DUI was a serious problem, although this behavior is clearly a cover-up of illegal activity. Covering up a DUI is evidence that police officers are protecting one another, regardless of ethics violations.

On a departmental level, this study shows that there is agreement on the moral order that guides officer judgment and establishes its core principles. The authors make clear that the management officer’s discretion controls the level of integrity within a department by the extent in which they decide to hold subordinate officers accountable. However, this article does elicit further questions. First, what standards guide the decision to allow certain actions to go unpunished and not others? Second, how does a department maintain integrity when the management is loyal to other officers and not their core principles?

Garrett GrothoffUniversity of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA

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