Professors Grunwald & Rappaport on The Wandering Officer



Professors Grunwald and Rappaport talk about their recent article, The Wandering Officer. “Wandering officers” are law-enforcement officers fired by one department, sometimes for serious misconduct, who then find work at another agency. This Article shares the findings of the authors’ systematic investigation of wandering officers over thirty years in Florida, possibly the largest quantitative police-misconduct study of any kind. They find that in any given year, an average of just under 3 percent of all officers in Florida were “wandering officers.” These wandering officers seemed to face difficulty finding work, and were more likely to be fired from their next job or to receive a complaint for a “moral character violation.” The authors consider why departments nonetheless hire wandering officers and suggest potential policy responses.