Sworn to protect and serve, police officers who stray into deviant behavior may become a citizen’s worst nightmare. A thoughtful examination of the formal and informal process of becoming blue, Cop Culture: Why Good Cops Go Bad is a unique combination of academic research based on Chief Scott Silverii’s doctoral dissertation and more than two decades in law enforcement. The book seeks to answer the ultimate question: why do good cops become bad cops?
Demonstrating the highly seductive and overwhelmingly influential culture of policing, the book presents interviews and observations by officers from across the country that explore how individuals may devolve into an aberrant subcultural fraternity. Chief Silverii explains the damaging effects upon the officers’ personal lives as they segregate from social and moral anchors and attach themselves to a lifestyle that may eventually bump up to criminality. Against the backdrop of the principles for organizational theory, acculturation, occupational socialization, and group culture, practical examples from real-life officers explain abstract ideals such as the "thin blue line" and the "code of silence."
This book is the first of its kind to combine an anthropological ethnography examining policing’s cultural expectancies with real-life experiences. By exploring the subculture of policing in vivid detail, it exposes the causes behind the separation from organizational ideals and a false status of detrimental hegemonic entitlement. Chief Silverii’s covert participant observations, semi-structured interviews, meta-analysis of relevant literature, and personal experiences provide readers with a scintillating panorama of this pervasive, destructive process. Chief Silverii also offers practical, proven solutions for creating a culture of change based on accountable, productive public service.
Chief Silverii was interviewed in January 2014 by TV station WAFB in Thibodaux, Louisiana.