Study of Sworn Nonfederal Law Enforcement Officers Arrested in the United States, 2005-2011 (ICPSR 35648)

Principal Investigator(s): Stinson, Philip, Bowling Green State University

Summary:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed expect for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) is further information is needed.

This collection is composed of archived news articles and court records reporting (n=6,724) on the arrest(s) of law enforcement officers in the United States from 2005-2011. Police crimes are those crimes committed by sworn law enforcement officers given the general powers of arrest at the time the offense was committed. These crimes can occur while the officer is on or off duty and include offenses committed by state, county, municipal, tribal, or special law enforcement agencies.

Three distinct but related research questions are addressed in this collection:

  1. What is the incidence and prevalence of police officers arrested across the United States?
  2. How do law enforcement agencies discipline officers who are arrested?
  3. To what degree do police crime arrests correlate with other forms of police misconduct?

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

Dataset
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Study Description

Citation

Stinson, Philip. Study of Sworn Nonfederal Law Enforcement Officers Arrested in the United States, 2005-2011. ICPSR35648-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-06-30. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35648.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35648.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (NIJ Award No. 2011-IJ-CX-0024)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    alcohol abuse, criminality, domestic violence, drug abuse, police, police brutality, police corruption, police misconduct, violence

Smallest Geographic Unit:    County

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2005-01-01--2011-12-31

Date of Collection:   

  • 2005-01-01--2014-03-01

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Universe:    All sworn nonfederal law enforcement officers in the United States who were arrested for committing one or more crimes between 2005 and 2011.

Data Type(s):    census/enumeration data, text

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed expect for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

Additional information on this collection can be found on the Police Integrity Lost Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:    The purpose of the current research project is to promote police integrity by gaining a better understanding of police crime and agency responses to officer arrests.

Study Design:   

Data for the current collection were collected as part of a project designed to locate cases in which sworn law enforcement officers had been arrested for any type of criminal offense(s). Data were derived from published news articles using the Google News search engine and its Google Alerts email update service. Google Alerts searches were conducted using 48 search terms such as ("agent was arrested", "agent was charged", and "agent was convicted"). The Google Alerts email update service sent a message each time one of the automated daily searches identified a news article in the Google News search engine that matched any of the designated search terms. The automated alerts contained a link to the URL for the news articles.

The articles were located, examined for relevancy, printed, logged, and then scanned, indexed, and archived in a digital imaging database for subsequent coding and content analyses. The present study focuses on the identification and description of the cases in which police officers were arrested during the years 2005-2011.

Content analyses were conducted in order to code the cases in terms of (a) arrested officer, (b) employing nonfederal law enforcement agency, (c) each of the charged criminal offenses, (d) victim characteristics, (e) organizational adverse employment outcomes, and (f) criminal case dispositions. Each of the charged criminal offenses was coded using the data collection guidelines of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) as the coding protocol for each criminal offense category. In each case every offense charged was recorded on the coding instrument as well as the most serious offense charged in each police crime arrest case. The most serious offense charged was determined using the Uniform Crime Report's (UCR) crime seriousness hierarchy. An additional eight offenses were added following an earlier pilot study police officers who were arrested often were charged with criminal offenses not included in the NIBRS.

One of the primary issues in coding was differentiating between arrest cases with multiple victims and officers who were arrested on multiple occasions within the study years 2005-2011. Arrest incidents that involved multiple victims with corresponding criminal charges were assigned an individual case for each respective victim. Additionally, law enforcement officers who were arrested on multiple occasions had an arrest case generated in the project database for each respective arrest.

Secondary data were employed from the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA) to ascertain demographic data including the number of full-time sworn personnel and part-time sworn personnel employed by each agency where arrested officers served. County and independent city were used to verify location of arrested officers' employing law enforcement agencies, as well as for use as a key variable to merge other data sources into the project's master database and data set. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2003 county-level urban to rural nine-point continuum scale was used to measure rurality. Population data from the U.S. Census Bureau's decennial census in years 2000 and 2010 were utilized for county, independent city, and state populations.

Sample:   

The Google News searches resulted in the identification of 6,724 cases in which sworn law enforcement officers were arrested during the years 2005 through 2011. The cases involved the arrests of 5,545 individual sworn officers employed by 2,529 nonfederal state and local law enforcement agencies located in 1,205 counties and independent cities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Each article that is collected will be read in order to determine if it meets the criteria for case inclusion.

  • The person was employed as a sworn nonfederal law enforcement officer at the time of their arrest and/or the person was employed as a sworn nonfederal law enforcement officer at the time of commission of the crime(s) for which they were arrested.
  • The term "officer" includes sworn law enforcement officers with general powers of arrest and includes officers, troopers, deputies, constables, etc. An "officer" includes all ranks (e.g., officers, detectives, investigators, corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels, inspectors, deputy chiefs, chief deputies, chiefs, sheriffs, commissioners, etc.)
  • The officer was arrested on or after January 1, 2005.
  • The officers' employing nonfederal law enforcement agency must be located within the United States (limited to those areas within and/or inclusive of the fifty states and the District of Columbia).
  • "Officer" includes those who are employed full-time and/or part-time, as well as officers who are auxiliary or reserve officers.
  • "Arrests" include arrests, indictments, charge by criminal information, charge by summons, etc. for criminal offenses. Traffic tickets alone are not included.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    None

Mode of Data Collection:    record abstracts

Data Source:

Google News search engine and its Google Alerts email update service to collect articles on possible cases to use.

The Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA) to ascertain demographic data including the number of full-time sworn personnel and part-time sworn personnel employed by each agency where arrested officers served.

Population data from the U.S. Census Bureau's decennial census in years 2000 and 2010 were utilized for county, independent city, and state populations.

The collection triangulated data sources using the Public Access to Courts Electronic Records (PACER) system of federal court records to investigate correlates of police integrity and misconduct.

Description of Variables:   

Police Integrity Lost Dataset (244 variables, n=6,724)

  • Officer and Police Department Characteristics: Variables include the officer's date of arrest, age, gender, years of service, duty status, rank, and police department information.
  • Types of Crime: Variables include a large range crime that an officer has been committed defined specifically and categorically primarily from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
  • Victim Characteristics: Variables include the victims' age, gender, and relationship with the offending officer.
  • Consequences for Crime Committed: Variables include numerous method of discipline for offending officers, if the officer's supervisor was disciplined, scrutiny of the officer's chief, discussion of an agency scandal, and if the officer was convicted of a crime.
  • DUI Arrest: Variables include traffic accidents, injuries, if the officer was on-duty, whether an officer was using a personal or a police vehicle, sobriety tests, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm, and if the officer was outside the jurisdiction.
  • Off-Duty Arrest: Variables include a range of police duties that the officer conducted while being off-duty.
  • Drugs of Abuse: Variables include the abuse of narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabis, anabolic steroids, and inhalants by an officer.
  • Officer Involved Domestic Violence (OIDV): Variables include various weapons used by the officer arrested, gun confiscation, restraining orders, and victim injury.
  • Defendant in Federal Civil Rights Cases: Variables include if the officer is involved in federal civil rights litigation with charges of civil rights violations. The Public Access to Courts Electronic Records (PACER) system was used to cross-reference officers in Police Integrity Lost dataset.
  • Most Serious Offense Charged: This variable includes values that used crime categories primarily from the Uniform Crime Report (UCR).
  • Location of Violence and Type of Injury to Victim: Variables include various locations of violence and a range of injuries a victim suffered.
  • Supplemental Information: Variables include additional information on the officer's history, previous military history, and other details of what occurred when the action of the crime.
  • Case Criminal Disposition: Variables include conviction level, type of conviction, type of sentence, incarceration sentence length, reason for non-conviction, and appellate review.
  • Drug-Related Police Crimes: Variables include personal drug use, involvement in drug trade, sexually-motivated crimes, theft, and falsification.
  • DUI Traffic Accident Sequence of Events: Variables include collision with person, vehicle or object not fixed, non-collision events, and collision with fixed object.
  • Race and Ethnicity: Variables include the arrested officer's race and ethnicity.

Response Rates:    Not Applicable

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2017-06-30

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