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In the rating on the
level of corruption The United Stated of America was placed 18th
rank and scored 74 points out of 100 on the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index
reported by Transparency International. According to Harry Enten’s article
“Ranking The States From Most to Least Corrupt” On that score, New York was No.
1 from 1976 to 2010 with 2,522 convictions. California was No. 2, Illinois No.
3, Florida No. 4 and Pennsylvania No. 5. Yet it’s clear from this list that the
most corrupt states are also the states with the biggest populations. Aristotle
argued that the most important thing in any state system is to put things in
such a way that officials cannot profit. It is quite obvious that this problem
always worried contemporaries. The young American state, too, was no exception,
despite the dreams of the founding fathers to create an exemplary republic. “Corruption,
improper and usually unlawful conduct intended to secure a benefit for oneself
or another its forms include bribery, extortion, and the misuse of inside
information. It exists where there is community indifference or a lack of
enforcement policies.”(Encyclopedia Britannica). Police scandals during the
1980s and 90s exposed dramatic cases of drug-related corruption, bribery, and
extortion. The scandals in New York City culminated in the establishment of the
Knapp and Mollen Commissions which focused on the investigation of police
misconduct and the operation of local cocaine and crack markets.

            Police corruption is a complicated phenomenon that
affects both civilians and law enforcement officers. Many aspects of policing
have changed, but one aspect that has remained unchanged is corruption in law
enforcement agencies. Corruption in New York according to NYS Penal Law 195.00
S 195.00 Official misconduct is

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  A public servant is guilty of official
misconduct when, with intent to

obtain a benefit or
deprive another person of a benefit:

  1. He commits an act relating to his office
but constituting an

unauthorized exercise
of his official functions, knowing that such act

is unauthorized; or

  2. He knowingly refrains from performing a
duty which is imposed upon

him by law or is
clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

  Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.

Sir Jon Dalberg-Acton
said that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” and
yet there is no reason to assume that police officers and government officials are
any less imperfect than other members of society. According to Edwin J.
Delattre police departments are no more than microcosms of society itself.
Since the general public has a great range of people with moral values and
those who have no moral values, every police department must be expected to
include the same characteristics. Fatalism can be applied to mayors, governors,
and law makers, because we elect our officials and they come from our
communities. Citizens are often shocked and disappointed when policemen and
politicians are exposed violation the law. The reason is people feel betrayed.
We usually trust people who govern us and enforce laws in our society, but when
this trust is broken it may lead to protests and riots. Essentially police
corruption falls into two categories- internal and external corruption.
Internal corruption involves the relationship between officers within the
police department ( the blue code of silence, failure to report misconduct of
fellow officers, etc) and external corruption concerns the police department
contacts with the public. The latter is generally consists of the following
activities: 1) payoffs by non-criminal people who fail to follow laws. 2)
Payoff by people who constantly violate the law to make money (for example
burglars, prostitutes, and drug dealers). 3) Acceptance of unlawful gratuities
where money is given to police for their service, or given discounts. In the
movie Seven Five we saw how Michael Dowd has been involved in extortion of
money and narcotics from drug dealers. He and his partner have accepted bribes
and sold their own cocaine. They were affiliated with drug lords and used
narcotics themselves (Seven Five, 2014).

            “In June, 2016 three New York Police Department
commanders were arrested along with a Brooklyn businessman on federal
corruption charges linked to one of several continuing investigations into
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising” (Nytimes, 2016). The police
officers were Deputy Chied Michael J. Harrington, Deputy Inspector James M.
Grant, Sgt. David Villanueva, and the businessman arrested was Jeremiah
Reichberg. Federal agents said that the two men who are at the center of one of
the City Hall fund-raising inquires, gave expensive gifts to senior police
officials, their wives and children, and even a private jet flight to Las
Vegas, with a prostitute on board. These arrests were the most significant in
the recent history of NYPD. There has been no suggestion that the mayor Bill de
Blasio was involved in this bribery scheme. Mr. Reichberg was seeking illicit
favors from the police. Although he didn’t have any affiliation to the Police
Department, he would often describe himself as a community liaison to the
department. “On some occasions, the police officials drove the businessmen
around town and to the airport, with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Other
times, the police sent underlings to help one of the businessmen, who was
involved in the diamond trade, against a business rival or to retrieve
gemstones that were the subject of disputes over payment, according to the
criminal complaint” (William K. Rashbaum, Joseph Goldstein, 2016).

            The book “A Flashpoint in a melting pot” shows that this
is not the first time Orthodox Jewish community had influence on City Hall and
the Police Department. Prior to the riots in Crown Heights the police
department showed a significant favoritism to the Lubavitch family. They would
give them the police escorts, place a police car and an ambulance in front of their
synagogues. The Lubavitch family always voted in bloc and this is how they
controlled the elections in New York City. The black community in Crown Heights
felt that their needs are no longer articulated by the elected leaders. Corruption
has slowed down the progress of government officials from focusing on important
issues that affect the communities.

            In 2014 Governor Cuomo proposed a full campaign finance
reform as part of his 2014 budget. The governor formed the Moreland Commission
to Investigate Public Corruption, which found a major corruption. Public
corruption is morally wrong in our world, because the western civilizations
adopted many ethical theories such as utilitarianism, the social contract, and
Aristotle’s virtue theory which help us live moral lives. The corruption
violates the social contract, because we gave our rights to people in the
government in exchange for a safe and civilized society and is built on trust.
Also it hits homes and businesses of New York residents. In 2016, New York Times
reported that a price for a bribe to get a gun permit was around $6,000. “In
one instance, the visitor had gotten a gun license for a man who had been the
subject of four domestic violence complaints and a forgery arrest, and involved
in multiple car accidents.” When something is hard to obtain its’ price rises
in the black market and could potentially corrupt people who are in charge of
gun licensing in New York City. In another instance The Bronx Department of
Motor Vehicles once sold a driver’s license for driving heavy trucks to a man
with no legs. They also sold two licenses to another man in one which he wears
a wig and another one without it.  “A
former city tax auditor dodged up to 15 years in prison by agreeing to fork
over more than $138,000 she stole from the government and spent on breast
implants and trips to Miami”. She abused her position, a division of the
Department of Finance, which maintains trust accounts for the five boroughs. She
agreed to make $1,500 monthly payments towards $138,654 in restitution and
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced Ms. Wilson to three years
of probation for pleading guilty to second-degree grand larceny. After her theft
was exposed she quit her job (Carrega, 2017).

            Corruption in government bodies clearly represents a
great social threat, as it directly or indirectly affects public values,
morality and the foundations of statehood. In terms of the prevalence of
corruption in a particular society and state, conclusions are drawn about the
likelihood of political, economic and social risks, as well as the degree of
development of civil society. The complexity of studying the problem of
corruption lies in the fact that it is hidden for a certain time: the relative
closeness of statistics; the need for judicial evidence of the existence of
actions that are corrupt in nature, falling into the category of criminal, a
significant lag in public reaction to the illegal actions of officials, etc. In
addition, in the scientific and practical terms, the social assessment of the
size of corruption and its consequences, including the use of the results of
mass and expert sociological surveys.  The
advantage of a purely legal definition of corruption lies in the fact that the
law establishes clear boundaries for what is permitted and what is illegal,
clearly defines which acts fall within the definition of corruption, determines
what is permitted and what is prohibited. This allows an individual, a
politician, a state or municipal employee, especially in the absence of
personal or collective ethics, without much hesitation or uncertainty to
determine for them an acceptable line of conduct.

            The case of three New York Police Department arrested on
federal corruption charges raised serious ethical concerns on the capability of
a democratic government to serve its’ citizens. We hold our public servants to
higher ethical standards than other professions. The problem of professional
ethics of a government employee is related to the fact that its activities
should be not only the provisions of the Constitution and current legislation,
but also the moral principle and norms. At the same time, the ethical code to
which state officials should be guided not simply rests on the generally
accepted morality, but also concretizes its demands in accordance with the
specifics of official activity, the extraordinary duties and powers that are
placed on them. A civil servant should be a model of citizenship and morality
for all with whom he has to communicate and interact. To the professional
values of a civil servant, this includes: service to people, spirituality,
special attitude to service, law-abiding, dedication, responsibility, sense of
duty and justice, intelligence, management culture. Today it is customary to
identify the following moral and ethical requirements for the anticorruption
behavior of a civil servant:

1.    
Maintenance of moral and ethical principles,
for example, such as loyalty to the state, the formulation of state interests
is higher than individual.

2.    
Conscientious execution by all state and
municipal employees of their official duties, as well as impartiality in the
performance of their activities.

3.    
Do not use your official powers, as well
as confidential information obtained during the performance of their duties to
obtain any benefits and benefits for their personal benefit.

4.    
Expose any corrupt practices, fight for
creating in the state bodies an atmosphere of intolerance to the corrupt
behavior of colleagues.

Former correction-union boss Norman
Seabrook violated all these ethical principles. “Mr.
Seabrook spent money without consulting the rest of the board. This practice
came to a head in June 2014 when Seabrook transferred $5 million of the funds’
operating expenses — reserved for things like payroll and rent — into hedge fund
Platinum Partners without telling a soul, Maiello said. Seabrook stands accused
of directing a total of $20 million to the hedge fund, which has since filed
for bankruptcy, in exchange for $60,000 in bribes from hedge-fund
executive ­Murray Huberfeld” (New York Post, 2017).

            The main task of developers of
ethical codes in modern conditions is to formulate and introduce into the
professional environment principles and norms of corporate ethics that are
aimed at resolving moral and ethical problems and disputable situations,
preventing abuses in the professional activities of civil servants. It should
be noted that the code of ethics should be called upon to fulfill two moral
functions: first, it serves the society as a quality guarantee, and secondly,
it carries information on standards and restrictions on the activities of civil
servants.

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