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Jammed Up

Bad Cops, Police Misconduct, and the New York City Police Department

By Robert J. Kane

Publication Year: 2012

Drugs, bribes, falsifying evidence, unjustified force and kickbacks:
there are many opportunities for cops to act like criminals. Jammed
Up is the definitive study of the nature and causes of police misconduct.
While police departments are notoriously protective of
their own—especially personnel and disciplinary information—Michael
White and Robert Kane gained unprecedented, complete
access to the confidential files of NYPD officers who committed
serious offenses, examining the cases of more than 1,500 NYPD
officers over a twenty year period that includes a fairly complete
cycle of scandal and reform, in the largest, most visible police department
in the United States. They explore both the factors that
predict officer misconduct, and the police department’s responses
to that misconduct, providing a comprehensive framework for understanding
the issues. The conclusions they draw are important
not just for what they can tell us about the NYPD but for how we
are to understand the very nature of police misconduct.
actual misconduct cases
»» An off-duty officer driving his private vehicle stops at a
convenience store on Long Island, after having just
worked a 10 hour shift in Brooklyn, to steal a six pack of
beer at gun point. Is this police misconduct?
»» A police officer is disciplined no less than six times in
three years for failing to comply with administrative standards
and is finally dismissed from employment for losing
his NYPD shield (badge). Is this police misconduct?
»» An officer was fired for abusing his sick time, but then
further investigation showed that the officer was found
not guilty in a criminal trial during which he was accused
of using his position as a police officer to protect drug
and prostitution enterprises. Which is the example of
police misconduct?

Published by: NYU Press

Cover, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface: What Bad Cops Tell Us about Good Policing

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pp. ix-xii

Mick Jagger was not claiming that all cops are criminals; he was saying that everyone is. The lyrics of this iconic rock song continue: “I cried out, ‘who killed the Kennedys?’ when after all, it was you and me.” Given a certain set of conditions, any cop can be a criminal or any sinner a saint, but we are all responsible for our actions. ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

I am continuously and deeply indebted to Anne-Marie, the true scholar of the family. She is all at once both my inspiration and support network. Without her, there is no book. Liam and Aidan are my daily reminders of what is truly important in life, offering much needed “distractions” when the writer’s block sets in. ...

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pp. xv-xviii

Many readers will identify the above as the opening dialogue from the 1973 movie Serpico, which dramatized perhaps the most infamous case of organized police corruption in the modern history of the New York City Police Department. As the Knapp Commission noted during its investigation of the so-called Serpico scandal, ...

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1. Jammed Up: An Introduction

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pp. 1-18

Mitchell Tisdale,1 was born and raised in Brooklyn. He lived in a two-parent household with three other siblings. His father worked in the service industry, and despite no criminal history in his family, Mitchell was arrested three times on juvenile delinquency charges prior to his eighteenth birthday. ...

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2. What We Know and Don’t Know about Police Misconduct

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pp. 19-38

Police misconduct is not a new problem. In the United States, almost every major police department has had at least one misconduct-related scandal in its history, and some departments have experienced them on an almost cyclical basis. The NYPD, for example, has experienced a persistent pattern of scandal and reform, ...

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3. Setting the Stage: An Historical Look at the New York Police Department

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pp. 39-64

We begin with a historical look at how career-ending misconduct has manifested itself in the NYPD over two previous generations. Specifically, this chapter sets aside questions regarding the prevalence of misconduct in the organization over time (that is described in chapter 4), and focuses on the primary characteristics of misconduct ...

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4. Exploring Career-Ending Misconduct in the NYPD: Who, What, and How Often

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pp. 65-86

In simple terms: who, what, and how often? The chapter begins with our new misconduct classification scheme, which was developed through review of the misdeeds of the study officers and with the goal of addressing many of the definitional problems that have limited prior research. ...

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5. Predicting Police Misconduct: How to Recognize the Bad Cops

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pp. 87-106

Police scholars and public policymakers across generations have sought to identify reliable indicators of police misconduct. The reasons for this are straightforward: officers who engage in misconduct — corruption, brutality, discrimination, and lesser forms of illegal and/or improper behavior ...

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6. The Department, the City, and Police Misconduct: Looking beyond the Bad Cop

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pp. 107-122

By the time this book is published, over 14 years will have elapsed from the point at which our misconduct data ended in 1996. Since that time, both the department and the city have experienced major events and changes, such as a substantial crime drop,1 the attacks of September 11, and the increased emphasis on “zero-tolerance” policing strategies.2 ...

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7. Explaining Bad Behavior: Can Criminology Help Us Understand Police Misconduct?

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pp. 123-156

Now we switch gears and return to the larger issue of trying to explain the causes of police misconduct.1 This question brings us back to some important issues raised earlier. The first involves efforts to understand police misconduct from a criminological perspective. ...

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8. What We Know about Being Jammed Up, and Transitioning to a Discourse on Good Policing

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pp. 157-172

The present volume represents the culmination of one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of police misconduct ever conducted in the United States. With the help of roughly 20 NYPD employees (who worked on the study after hours at Police Headquarters), and with unprecedented access granted by the command staff of the NYPD, ...

Appendix: Analyses from Chapter 5

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pp. 173-176


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pp. 177-194


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pp. 195-212


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pp. 213-221

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About the Authors

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p. 222

Robert J. Kane is Professor and Director of the Program in Criminal Justice at Drexel University, as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety at Arizona State University. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814785751
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814748411

Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 843209538
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Jammed Up

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Subject Headings

  • New York (N.Y.). Police Dept.
  • Police misconduct -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Police-community relations -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Police administration -- New York (State) -- New York.
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