Criminal Justice Faculty Publications

Document Type



Purpose- The purpose of the study is to provide empirical data on cases of drug-related police corruption. The study identifies and describes incidents in which police officers were arrested for criminal offenses associated with drug-related corruption.

Design/methodology/approach- The study is a quantitative content analysis of news articles identified through the Google News search engine using 48 automated Google Alerts queries. Statistical analyses include classification trees to examine casual pathways between drugs and corruption.

Findings- Data are analyzed on 221 drug-related arrest cases of officers employed by police agencies throughout the United States. Findings show that drug-related corruption involves a wide range of criminal offenses, and that cocaine is the most prevalent drug. Older officers and those employed by large agencies are less likely than others to lose their jobs after a drug-related arrest.

Research limitations/implications- The data are limited to cases that involve an official arrest. Additionally, the data are the result of a filtering process that includes the exercise of media discretion as to the types of news stories reported and the content devoted to particular news stories.

Practical implications- The study provides data on drug-related corruption and the drug trade in 141 police agencies, and suggests the need for police executives to develop effective strategies to address it.

Originality/value- The study augments the few existing studies on the topic, and is the only study known to describe drug-related corruption as it occurs within police agencies nationwide.

Publication Date


Publication Title

American Society of Criminology Conference