When we were kids, we were taught to always trust and believe police officers. We were taught that the police were the good guys. They were noble, brave upholders of justice who were there to protect the public against crime. Fast forward to adulthood and you realize that those stereotypes were a naive fallacy.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I’m not passing judgment on every police officer because there are a number of very good and professional cops who act in a moral and upright manner. However, after working closely with the police in my capacity as a Fulton County Prosecutor as well as confronting them in trials as an Atlanta criminal defense attorney, I have come to realize that the “noble sheriff” is a unique person and has overall become dying breed.
Take for example the ticket-fixing scandal in New York City. Investigators uncovered widespread corruption involving dozens of officers who reportedly took bribes and other favors in exchange for reducing or eliminating the charges on traffic tickets. Corrupt acts like this throw a blanket of doubt over these officers and brings into question their credibility. Their decisions, arrests and testimonies are all tainted because of these unlawful acts.
Officer credibility is particularly sensitive issue when it comes to DUI cases because most of the time, the testimony of the officer is the main or only piece of evidence to prove that the driver was impaired. Police corruption is a very serious issue that deserves our attention and concern because it rips apart the very fabric of trust that serves as the basis of the relationship between the police and the community they are commissioned to serve. One of the worst crimes is blatantly charging innocent people with crimes and robbing them of their dignity, liberty and freedom, all for the pursuit of personal gain (raises, overtime, awards).