In January 2011, three Kansas City SWAT officers engaged in an appallingly unethical and unprofessional act. According to the allegations brought against these officers, the men served a warrant on a home in an effort to retrieve a stolen X-Box. However, as it appears, the officers used this warrant as a ruse in order to steal $4,000 in cash and other valuables from the home (Kiesling, 2011). In this instance, the officers took advantage of their professional position, as well as their access to use of force and intimidation, in order to commit a crime and profit. The incident has not only destroyed the careers of these three officers, but it has tarnished the reputation of the Kansas City Police Department, and of SWAT officers in general.

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As far as contributing factors to the incident, it is difficult to state with any certainty what drove these men to commit this act, as they have issued no personal statements regarding this matter. However, there could have been several precipitating factors. As the officers took a sizable quantity of cash, it is probable that they were facing financial difficulties in their personal lives, and thus may have not been able to resist the temptation to make off with the cash. Additionally, an inflated sense of power as a result of their position may have contributed to their actions. However, the entire scenario is tragic for all those who were involved. Not only were the homeowners traumatized by the incident, but the three SWAT officers will lose their careers, and will most likely face prison sentences, all for $4,000 and a few pieces of jewelry (Anonymous, 2011).

If all of the allegations are true in this case, then there was clearly a failure of leadership in the Kansas City Police Department. The three SWAT officers responded with excessive force to retrieve a stolen X-Box, and while it does appear that they used this as a ruse in order to get at the large amounts of cash inside the home, this entire incident speaks to a possible culture of corruption within the Kansas City Police Department SWAT division. Clearly, the three officers had reason to believe that they would get away with their actions, and it is quite possible that they have committed such deeds before, which were never reported. Often, citizens who keep such a large amount of cash within their residence are engaged in illegal activity, and may thus have been hesitant to report such incidents to the police. As it appears, the three officers took advantage of their professional position, and of their knowledge of profit-driven illegal activities in the neighborhood.

As for me, had I been a member of this SWAT team, and was aware that my colleagues were planning to commit such a horribly unethical act, I would report the plans to my commander. In such a scenario, it is never a good idea to try to take matters into one’s own hands, as these officers clearly have issues with moral behavior, and are also heavily armed. However, this does raise the question of the possibility of an overall culture of corruption in the Kansas City SWAT. For all we know at this point in the case, the commander may have been in on this robbery, and reporting these plans would have accomplished nothing, and moreover, could have provoked retaliation. Thus, it is difficult to state with any certainty what I could have done were I in this situation. However, if I did notice that the entire squad was abusing their positions, I should report such incidents to the local State Bureau of Investigation, or to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.