Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 28–37 | Cite as

The sociopathic police personality: Is it a product of the “Rotten Apple” or the “Rotten Barrel?”

  • Catherine Griffin
  • Jim Ruiz
Article

Abstract

The “Rotten Apple” theory states that deviant police officers are those who psychological testing fails to screen out. This concept is favored by police administrators because it offers a quick and easy solution to police deviant behavior. However, there is a growing body of literature that suggests that it is the stressful occupation that is policing that is the fertile soil from which police deviant behavior springs otherwise known as the “Rotten Barrel” theory. This article shall explore police deviant behavior from the perspective that it is the “Rotten Barrel” that leads to police deviant behavior.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alpert, G. (1993). The Role of Psychological Testing in Law Enforcement. In R. G. Dunham & G. P. Alpert (Eds.),Critical Issues in Policing: Contemporary Readings. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alpert, G., Smith, W. and Watters, D. (1992). Law Enforcement: Implications of the Rodney King Beating.Criminal Law Bulletin, 28, 469–478.Google Scholar
  3. Baehr, M.E. & Oppenheim, A. B. (1979). Job Analysis in Police Selection Research. In C. D. Spielberger (Ed), PoliceSelection and Evaluation: Issues and Techniques. (pp. 33–60). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  4. Balch, R. (1972). The Police Personality: Fact or Fiction.The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science, 63, 106–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barker, T. (1978). An Empirical Study of Police Deviance Other than Corruption.Journal of Police Science and Administration, 6, 264–272.Google Scholar
  6. Barker, T. (1976).Peer Group Support for Occupational Deviance in Police Agencies. Ann Arbor, MI: Xerox University MicrofilmsGoogle Scholar
  7. Barker, T. & Roebuck, J. (1973).An Empirical Typology of Police Corruption: A Study in Organizational Deviance. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  8. Blum, R. H. (1964). Psychological Testing. In, R. H. Blum (Ed.)Police Selection (pp. 83–139, Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
  9. Goldstein, H. (1991). Controlling and Reviewing Police-Citizen Contacts. In T. Barker & D. L. (Eds.),Police Deviance (pp. 319–350) Cincinnati, OH. Anderson Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. Herbert, S. (1988). Police Subculture Reconsidered.Criminology, 36, 343–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Johnson, E. E. (1983). Psychological Tests Used in Assessing a Sample of Police and Fire Fighter Candidates.Journal of Police Science and Administration, 11(4), 430–433.Google Scholar
  12. Kappeler, V., Sluder, R. & Alpert, G. (1994).Forces of Deviance: Understanding the Dark Side of Policing. Prospect Hills, IL. Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kappeler, V. & Vaughn, M. (1997). Law Enforcement: When the Pursuit Becomes Criminal Municipal Liability for Police Sexual Violence.Criminal Law Bulletin, 33, 352–376.Google Scholar
  14. Kleinig, J. (1996).The Ethics of Policing. New York: NY, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kuykendall, J. L. (1971). Police Deviancy in the Enforcement Role: Situational Cooperation/Compliance-Response Hierarchy of Deviant and Non-Deviant Power Strategies.Police, 15, 44–51.Google Scholar
  16. Lykken, D. (1996). Psychopathy, Sociopathy and Crime,Society, 34, 29–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mealey, L. (1995). The Sociobiology of Sociopathy: An Integrated Evolutionary Model.Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 18, 523–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Murphy, J. J. (1972). Current Practices in the use of Psychological Testing by Police Agencies.Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Sciences, 63, 570–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Neal, B. (1986). The K Scale (MMPI) and Job Performance. In J. T. Reese & H. A. Goldstein (Eds.),Psychological Services for Law Enforcement. Washington, DC: S. U. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  20. Reming, G. (1988). Personality Characteristics of Supercops and Habitual Criminals.Journal of Police Science and Administration.16, 163–167.Google Scholar
  21. Schneiderman, H. (1996). Antisocial Personalities, Antidemocratic Solutions.Society, 34, 53–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shaw, J. H. (1986). Effectiveness of the MMPI in Differentiating Ideal From Undersirable Police Officer Applicants. In T. J. Reese & H. A. Goldstein (Eds.),Psychological Service for Law Enforcement. Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  23. Skolnick, J. & Fyfe, J. (1993)Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Power. New York: NY. Free Press.Google Scholar
  24. Slovak, J. S. (1983). Violence in the City: Empirical Bases for a Collective Working Image.Journal of Criminal Justice, 11, 301–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Spielberger, C. D. Ward, J. C. & Spaulding, H. C. (1979). A Model for the Selection of Law Enforcement Officers. In C. D. Spielberger (Ed.),Police Selection and Evaluation: Issues and Techniques (pp. 11–29). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  26. Territo, L. & Vetter, H. (1981). Stress and Police Personnel.Journal of Police Science and Administration 9, 195–207.Google Scholar
  27. Van Laere, E. & Geerts, R. (1984). Law Enforcers or Law Evaders: Deviant Behavior in the Amsterdam Police.Police Studies, 7, 200–208.Google Scholar
  28. Wrobleski, H. M. & Hess, K. M. (1993).Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, St. Paul, MN: West Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Griffin
    • 1
  • Jim Ruiz
    • 1
  1. 1.Westfield State CollegeUSA

Personalised recommendations