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


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.


Police Officer Police Department Deviant Behavior Criminal Psychology Habitual Criminal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 1999

Authors and Affiliations

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

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