When a police officer 'goes bad' it hurts everyone on the force

March 15, 2013

As a former member of the Baltimore City Police Department, I read with a sense of anger and sorrow your article about the city officer who admitted conspiring to sell drugs ("City officer pleads guilty to armed drug conspiracy," March 12).

To read such allegations against one of your own is very disheartening indeed. But I know from my 33 years on the force that it is all too easy for police officers to "make extra money" because of their job.

It can range from something as simple as taking a bribe for not issuing a traffic summons to facilitating the sale of drugs, protecting organized prostitution and gambling or even setting up a robbery. There are as many ways for a police officer to "go bad" as there are human vices.

It saddens me to read of one bad apple when we have so many really good police officers who serve the public with honor, integrity and dignity every year. It takes a special person to want to do the job, and when even one officer does something to tarnish the badge it hurts all of us and diminishes public confidence in our work.

I don't know whether this officer cares about any of this, but I do know that the public expected better of him.

Robert L. DiStefano, Abingdon

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