In a case that we’ll call, Always Keeping It Classy, police responded to a domestic abuse call. A 52-year old Louisiana woman was beating up her boyfriend. In a desperate attempt to keep her name out of the public record, the lady (and we use that term loosely) offered to lick a cop’s anus – IF he would not arrest her. Her charming proposal wound up leading to a second charge of public bribery.

Most cops can probably tell you a story or two about someone offering to strike a deal to get out of a ticket or an arrest. Even more women, I suspect, will gleefully share the not-so-sordid details of how flirting got them off the hook.

In my early years when I did traffic stops, I had any number of women turn on the waterworks, with their shirts suddenly unbuttoned below their bra line, only to look up in disappointed shock when I got to their driver’s side window. Whatever little holster sniffing fantasy they harbored about getting out of a ticket evaporated faster than those buffalo tears when they saw I wasn’t a man.

Fact is, not every traffic stop or call for service results in a ticket or an arrest – but it’s not necessarily because of pleading or panting for mercy or even for want for trying.

If you’re writing a scene that involves a bribe or some type of police corruption, you’ll want to keep in mind a number of points.

  • According to FBI statistics, almost 3/4 of all police agencies provide ethics training beyond what is taught in the academy. At the same time, only 1/3 of those same agencies actually rate new officers on their demonstrated knowledge and behavior of ethics.
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  • Accepting a free cup of coffee from the local convenience store is seen as a gateway to larger scale corruption by some law enforcement officials. Others see that small gratuity as an offer of kindness by businesses who appreciate the police presence and the extra measure of safety it provides all their customers.
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  • Ticket Fixing – or the cancelling of traffic tickets as a favor for friends- doesn’t generally happen in most larger jurisdictions. Once a citation is issued, the ticket has already been submitted electronically and there’s no way, other than a court appearance, to make it “go away”. With that said, if an officer does not show up in court, then the ticket is closed with a not guilty finding.
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  • The majority of officers I have known or worked with in large East Coast police agencies won’t actually take a bribe. Unfortunately, I can’t offer you solid statistics to back up this fact, as none exist. It’s easy to play both sides of the corruption story by focusing only on anecdotal evidence.
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  • It’s not unusual for an individual who is caught with drugs and a large sum of money to simply say, “You can have it, if you let me go.” While it can be tempting to take a stack of money and look the other way, officers know that the bad guy will always have something on them and it could possibly come back to bite them one day.
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  • It’s also not unusual for an officer to get the occasional sex offer from folks ranging widely in age and appearance. Most officers will pass, mainly because they just don’t do the one-night stand in dirty alleyways or backseats of cars thang. More importantly, they know they will lose their job for having sex while on-duty.
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  • Most dirty cops won’t generally take bribes from general traffic stops. Instead they’ll take money and/or property of value during search warrants that they initiate and have some type of control over. Additionally, these dirty cops like having other officers on scene because it makes it easier to point the finger at someone else, should an investigation occur.
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  • Citizens can report allegations of police misconduct by filing a written complaint. The police department’s Internal Affairs division handles those investigations. The IA division is generally run by officers holding a rank of sergeant and higher. There is sometimes alo a Citizens’ Review Board that may have a say in the outcome of the investigation.
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Nic

Written by Nic

A veteran law enforcement officer with 26+ years of experience, Sgt. Nicodemus consults with writers looking for a more authentic voice in their fictional crime writing.

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