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Criminal Profiling and Police Corruption

Criminal Profiling

Solving murder crimes is a complex process that requires law enforcement personnel to use special techniques to narrow the list of potential suspects. One such technique is criminal profiling, which has proven to be especially effective when investigating homicides on sexual grounds (Douglas, et al., 1986, 403).

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Criminal profiling is a tool that is used to create a profile of an offender or provide specific information about them that will help identify the suspect (Fulero, Wrightsman, 2008, p. 84). A criminal profile is created by analyzing the crime scene, gathering leads, and using the available information to describe a hypothetical behavioral organization of a person who committed the crime (Criminal Profiling Part 2 of 7, n.d.).

In the case of a murder of Annie Le, a Yale doctoral student who disappeared days before her wedding, police officers used security cameras footage to determine when and where she disappeared. The footage showed that on the day she disappeared, Le entered Yale campus building, but never left it. This fact prompted law enforcement personnel to search the building for clues, and Le’s body was subsequently found in a basement laboratory in the building.

Due to high-security measures, only Yale personnel could have entered this laboratory. This fact helped law enforcement officers reconstruct the crime and narrow down the list of potential suspects to Raymond J. Clark, III, a lab technician who had the clearance to enter the lab. The description is given to Le by her friends and family, as well as the evidence found at the crime scene, suggested a sexual motive for the crime.

To help solve the crime, the investigative profiler uses the data from the crime scene and their own experience to describe the personality of the offender and a possible motive.

Police Corruption

Despite the efforts to eliminate police corruption, an examination of recent police-related news reminds us that it remains a complex problem that requires a multifaceted approach.

In 2010, several police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma indicted on federal charges for corruption allegations. The allegations were that the officers “stole drug money, falsified reports, planted drugs, tampered with witnesses, and committed perjury and civil rights violations” (Sherrer, 2010, par. 2). This was not the first scandalous corruption case that prompted discussions on police ethics and the ways police corruption can be eliminated.

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Although local police departments were not participants of such scandalous accusations, I do believe that there are many police officers across the US who overstep their professional boundaries. In 2011, only 56 percent of respondents said that police have high ethical standards (Martin, 2011, par. 1). Researchers conducted studies to find out which factors compromise police integrity, and these include the negative influence of society, the behavior of the department’s administration, and the low ethical standards of police officers (Martin, 2011, par. 3).

As such, the work towards eliminating corruption relies on reducing these factors and should include external oversight over police operations, including the monitoring of the police department’s commander’s performance, and improving recruitment practices. For example, if a commander who misused his authority is held responsible for his actions, it is unlikely his subordinates will follow suit. In addition, the police selection process can help prevent future incidents of corruption by avoiding recruitment of personnel with inherently low ethical standards. In addition to the screening of candidates, careful monitoring of people undergoing police training could help identify people with a lower degree of integrity.

Police integrity is a complicated issue that can be solved by increased oversight and improved screening of candidates.


Criminal Profiling Part 2 of 7. (n.d.). Web.

Douglas, J., Ressler, R., Burgess, A., & Hartman, C. (1986). Criminal profiling from crime scene analysis. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 4(4), 401-421. Web.

Fulero, S., & Wrightsman, L. (2008). Forensic Psychology. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.

Martin, R. (2011). Police Corruption An Analytical Look into Police Ethics. Web.

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Sherrer, H. (2010). 21st Person Freed In Tulsa Police Corruption Scandal — Officers Convicted Of Crimes Will Get Pensions. Web.

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