Police Deviance and Corruption in the United States and in Portugal: Identifying Criminological Trends and Theoretical Explanations



Police, Corruption, Criminology, Ethics, United States, Portugal


Law enforcement is considered a noble profession in many democratic countries.  Occasionally, however, several police officials have been observed engaging in corrupt, criminal and abusive activities. Unfortunately, when Transparency International conducted a recent annual survey to identify which institutions the public viewed as being most corrupt, the police and elected government officials were tied as being perceived as the most deviant of all public entities. Approximately 36% of people globally responded that they perceived the police as being highly corrupt. The recent public demonstrations globally demanding police reform, and, more disturbingly, the calls to “defund the police” in many major American cities are another indication that police deviance is a major concern internationally. In order to better understand the sociological theories associated with police deviance and the related trends and patterns experienced in the United States and Portugal, two highly respected western democracies, these phenomena will be outlined and contrasted. After establishing a clear typology for police deviance, criminological explanations will be identified for specific categories of misconduct.  The resultant comprehensive insight of the underlying foundations of these unacceptable acts of law enforcement misconduct will result in detailed practical recommendations for enhancing ethical conduct and professionalism within the critical field of public policing.

Author Biographies

James F. ALBRECHT, Pace University - New York

Prof. JAMES F. ALBRECHT served in the EU Rule of Law (EULEX) Mission in Kosovo as Police Chief in charge of criminal investigations from 2007 through 2010. Jim is also a 22-year veteran of the NYPD who retired as Commanding Officer of NYPD Transit Bureau District 20. Captain Albrecht was a first responder and incident command staff manager at the 11. September 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. He possesses different Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice, Human Physiology, and History and will receive his PhD in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven. Jimmy is a Criminal Justice and Homeland Security Professor at Pace University in New York City. Jim is the editor and co-author of several books, including “Effective Crime Reduction Strategies: International Perspectives;” “Policing Major Events: Perspective from Across the World;” “Police Reserves and Volunteers: Enhancing Police Effectiveness and Public Trust;” “Police Brutality, Misconduct, and Corruption: Criminological Explanations and Policy Implication,” “Policing and Minority Communities,” and “Effective Police Service Delivery: Contemporary Issues and Global Perspectives.”

Gonçalo S. de MELO BANDEIRA, Escola Superior de Gestão do Instituto Politécnico do Cávado e do Ave

PhD in Juridical-Criminal Sciences, Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra (2009). Master in Public Law from the Faculty of Law of the Portuguese Catholic University (2003). Degree in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra. Adjunct Professor of Public Law by the (State) School of Management of the Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave (IPCA) – Superior Public Education of Portugal. Researcher at the Center for Applied Legal Research (CIJA), 2009-2017. Collaborates with several Portuguese and foreign universities. Between 2009 and 2013 he was a Guest Professor at the Portucalense University Infante D. Henrique. Researcher at the Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und Internationales Strafrecht, Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Wüttemberg, Deutschland-Germany, in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Professor and Researcher-Guest at several Brazilian Public, Private and Cooperative Higher Education Institutions. It has several publications in Portugal and abroad. His works are mainly on Fundamental Rights, Economic, Social and Financial Criminal Law, including cybercrime. Collaborates with the written press.


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How to Cite

James F. ALBRECHT, & S. de MELO BANDEIRA, G. . (2023). Police Deviance and Corruption in the United States and in Portugal: Identifying Criminological Trends and Theoretical Explanations. Revista Jurídica Portucalense, 122–152. Retrieved from https://revistas.rcaap.pt/juridica/article/view/25751