A first-of-its-kind study published by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service reveals that police officers in the United States commit around 1,100 crimes per year. Furthermore, the paper evidences that an estimated 72% of officers charged are convicted. It should be noted that the researchers used Google to find reports of police crimes. In other words, if the media didn’t report on the crime, this study doesn’t include them.
Around 20% of officers convicted were previously named as defendants in civil rights abuse cases. The researchers looked at 6,724 cases from 2005 to 2011.
674 out of the 6,724 of the officers arrested were arrested more than once. An executive from the National Fraternal Order of Police — the United States’ largest union for law enforcement officers — said that the arrests were “not particularly notable”.
Data showed the primary victims of police crimes to be women. 46% of law enforcement officers that are convicted of a crime are allowed to resign. Researchers believe this likely means they were rehired in another district, as they still have their law enforcement licence. Nearly half of the crimes were committed in just one police department: New Orleans PD at 44%, followed by Milwaukee PD at 36%.
“Police crimes are not uncommon,” lead researcher Philip M. Stinson said. “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 was conducted at Bowling Green State University in Ohio with financing from the Department of Justice. The full report can be found here.