Corruption in Sheriffs' Departments Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

efficiency and effectiveness. Is it possible for an agency to exhibit one but not the other?

Most law enforcement agencies seek to be both efficient and effective because the two can go hand in hand when things are done correctly. It is possible, though, to be highly effective but in inefficient ways (e.g., reducing the number of violent crimes in the community by using enormous amounts of overtime without conducting basic research to determine where the most of the crimes are being committed) and likewise it is possible to be highly efficient without ever accomplishing anything (e.g., recording the number of violent crimes accurately and conducting research to identify problem areas without implementing any interventions).

What political consequences might result from an unfavorable opinion of your department?

Sheriffs' offices depend a great deal on the support and goodwill of the general public. Even the hint of corruption or inefficiency could adversely affect this support and goodwill (Jonsson, 2009). This has been proven time and again across the country as a rash of recent corruption cases have adversely affected the image of sheriffs in many states (Jonsson, 2009). According to Jonsson, "In America, this kind of thing goes way back to the 18th- century sheriff, where the sheriff managed the jails while doing all kinds of things, like charging for food and allowing people to take sexual advantages of prisoners. The only difference today is that it's more exposed" (p. 3). Some salient examples include the following:

The powers of elected sheriffs are being revised in parts of the country and in 2007, Connecticut eliminated its six elected sheriffs altogether, in response to a string of corruption charges.

In Delaware, New Jersey, and California, courts and legislatures recently curbed sheriffs' powers primary in an attempt to undermine the lure of small-time corruption.

In Pennsylvania, there is an ongoing heated debate concerning just what the sheriff's role should be (Jonsson, 2009).

Describe how the sheriff's department would measure efficiency and effectiveness.

Law enforcement agencies have been collecting information concerning the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations for more than 150 years (Maguire, 2003). In recent years, though, law enforcement organizations have been forced to implement alternative responses strategies in order to improve their efficiency and effectiveness (Maguire, 2003). In this context, Maguire advises that, "Effectiveness refers to how well the organization meets its goals. This dimension can sometimes be broken down into multiple sub-dimensions since organizations often have multiple goals which may even conflict with one another" (2003, p. 4). By contrast, Maguire defines efficiency as "a ratio of outputs or outcomes to inputs. If one firm is able to build the same bridge as another firm for half the cost, the former is twice as efficient as the latter" (2003, p. 4). As noted in the introductory section, it is possible for sheriffs' departments to be effective but inefficient when they dedicate an inordinate amount of resources to achieving a public safety goal. In this regard, Maguire points out that, "An agency might produce an optimal level of public safety, but require a substantial level of funding that is out of range when compared to its peer agencies. In this case it would score highly on effectiveness, but lower on efficiency" (2003, p. 5). Rather than using traditional measures of law enforcement organization performance such as response times, arrest rates, and Uniform Crimes Reports, Maguire suggests that a more appropriate approach to measuring efficiency in sheriffs' departments is to measure efficiency in terms of how much resources are required to achieve a given law enforcement goal: "Efficiency, as a ratio in which the denominator is measure of resources, can be expressed in different ways: per dollar, per officer, per employee, or per hour" (2003, p. 5). By contrast, though, measuring the effectiveness of a law enforcement organization requires a multidimensional analysis. For instance, Maguire points out that, "Effective police agencies might be those that produce low crime rates, low rates of re-victimization, high quality of life, feelings of safety, and high clearance rates" (2003, p. 6).

Are the methods of measurement likely to be the same in other criminal justice agencies?

Although sheriffs departments may respond to the identical set of…

Sources Used in Documents:


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DeCrescenzo, D. (2005). Early detection of the problem officer. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin,

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