Case #182.0

Knapp Commission and Patrick Murphy (B)

Publication Date: January 01, 1977
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This case considers the actions of two individuals committed to combatting corruption in the New York City Police Department. Mike Armstrong is chief counsel of the Knapp Commission, an independent commission established by the mayor to investigate police corruption. His hope is to "turn a cop," hold public hearings and generate so much public outrage that the NYPD would be forced to revise its ways. Patrick Murphy is the newly appointed police commissioner. His approach to corruption is to establish internal reforms, including command accountability, internal investigations, and new training programs. When Armstrong finally does succeed in turning a cop (Bill Phillips), Murphy is faced with the specter of public hearings that could be devastating to the department. The sequel details Murphy's decision: in statements over police radio and in a press conference, he attacks Phillips as a "rogue cop" and strongly defends the integrity of the NYPD. This case is a good vehicle for discussing choice and implementation of managerial goals. "The Knapp Commission" is a relatively integrative case, and as such works well toward the end of a course on political management. It is also useful for courses on criminal justice and municipal policing.

Other Details

Case Author:
Ralph Stone and Sheila Jasanoff
Faculty Lead:
Philip Heymann
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States