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How often are police officers arrested?

We know that police officers are sometimes charged with crimes. But the frequency of such charges has always been a vexing question. Depending on what segment of the public is questioned, only a small number of officers face criminal charges. Others may believe that cops are merely crooks that have not been caught yet.

Regardless of some people’s perceptions, a study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green University found that officers are arrested about 1,100 times a year across the United States. The most common crimes included assault, sex crimes, aggravated assault and drunken driving. 

The study sought to quantify just how often police officers are arrested. It also compared the number of off-duty arrests as opposed to on-duty arrests. Researchers also studied how police agencies disciplined officers who were arrested and tried to discover how arrests could correlate with other forms of misconduct (i.e. corruption claims).

While 1,100 officers may seem like a large number, it does not represent the overwhelming majority of officers who conduct themselves with a high level of integrity and focus on protecting and serving their communities. After all, there are more than 750,000 licensed police officers across the country. Nevertheless, the study exemplifies the need for officers to have skilled legal counsel in the event they are charged with violating the very laws they swore to enforce.

If you have questions about what to do about criminal charges against you, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you. 

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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