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A Case Study in Police Misconduct: The Mollen Commission

A Case Study in Police Misconduct: The Mollen Commission

  • Matt Dolan
    Attorney & Director, Dolan Consulting Group, NC
  • Nov 12, 2020
  • 2:00 - 4:00pm EST
Individual Fee:
  • $95.00 per registered attendee
Group Rate:
  • $95.00 for the first attendee - $50.00 per each additional attendee
Agency Pricing:
  • Please contact us for an agency-wide pricing quote

The fundamental challenges that face law enforcement agencies have been relatively consistent over time.  These challenges include hiring qualified applicants, vetting them, conducting fair internal investigations of alleged misconduct, ensuring consistent disciplinary practices and emphasizing early intervention strategies in the face of possible misconduct.  These issues are not new and their vital importance should not be subject to political changes over time.  Instead, these priorities of police management should be universally shared by all reasonable people who seek to continuously improve agency operations.

On July 7, 1994, the Mollen Commission publicized its findings related to police corruption in the New York City Police Department.  One of the focal points of the Commission’s work was depicted in the 2015 documentary The Seven Five.[1]  The acts of corruption and brutality committed by the likes of Officers Michael Dowd, Kevin Hembury and Bernard Cawley (nicknamed “the Mechanic” for his habit of “tuning up” suspects) and others spawned a two-year investigation into “the nature and extent of corruption in the Department,” “the Department procedures for preventing and detecting corruption,” and concluding with the Commission’s best attempt “to recommend changes and improvements in those procedures.”[2]

The Mollen Commission Report resulted in the identification of pitfalls in police management that applied then, and now, well beyond the New York City Police DepartmentThese findings should be studied by law enforcement leaders across the country and the loss of public trust associated with these scandals should serve as cautionary tales that are universally relevant. 

In this webinar, Attorney Matt Dolan will discuss the organizational failures exposed by the Mollen Commission, including:

  • The risks associated with a “just because hires”
  • The importance of utilizing the probationary process as a vetting opportunity
  • “Copy and paste” performance evaluations as a barrier to early intervention in the face of misconduct

[1] Holzman, E. (Producer), & Russell, T. (2015). The Seven Five [Motion Picture]. United States, Sony Pictures.

[2] City of New York (1994). Commission to Investigate Allegations of Police Corruption and the Anti-Corruption Procedures of the Police Department: Commission Report. New York, NY: City of New York; p. 1.

Developing Organizational Performance Leadership