An Inside Look At NY Police Corruption–Is It Rising?


From 1992 to 2008, nearly 2,000 New York police officers were arrested, an average of 119 a year. Rarely seen reports of the police Internal Affairs Bureau were obtained last month by the New York Civil Liberties Union under the state freedom of information law, says the New York Times. They show that the number of tips logged each year by Internal Affairs has tripled since 1992, a trend that top police officials attribute to an opening up of the process and more diligent cataloging of public response to police interactions. The number of investigations pursued over the same period dropped by more than half, which Charles Campisi, who runs the unit, called “the truest reflection of the corruption the department faces.”

Most of those investigations involved drugs, theft or crimes like fraud, bribery, or sex offenses, on and off the job. Inquiries in these categories largely decreased in recent years, but cases involving abuse of suspects have risen significantly. The 2006 report noted the “unprecedented” rise. “History tells us there always will be bad cops, and the department will never be able to completely control that,” said Christopher Dunn of the civil liberties union, who has studied the documents. “But what it can control, and what it should be held accountable for, is how it responds to corruption.” The Times says the reports “tell a colorful story not only of officers who betray the badge but also of the little-known agency charged with rooting them out.” Dunn says the reports show a department that, in the mid-1990s, was candid about its anticorruption work. Recent reports, he said, “reveal almost nothing, signaling an N.Y.P.D. that seems unwilling to confront corruption.”

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