Volume 19, Issue 4 (October 1974)
The Foundation for Politization of the Police: Its Implications on the Watergate Scandal
Every component of the criminal justice system except the law enforcement component is able to protect itself from the scandalous taint of the Watergate affair. This is not to infer that the other components of the criminal justice system would necessarily be free of potential scandalous involvement, but it is meant to infer that structurally all other components of the criminal justice system are organized in such a manner as to minimize their vulnerability to such scandalous involvement. Moreover, their visibility in the areas of processing participants of such scandals is more legitimized in terms of discretionary decision making that must necessarily occur in such cases, both prior to and after adjudication. The law enforcement component, on the other hand, is severely handicapped by low visibility political pressures to influence the decision either to arrest, charge, or investigate. Aggravating this problem is the intense political nature of the police organization, with its politically appointed adminstrators; its historical involvement in political activities; and its vulnerability to the use of discretionary decision making.