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Case Study: Badge of Honor
The Story of the Bell Whistleblower


As part of its commitment to supporting the next generation of local leaders and staff, the Institute aspires to develop case studies as teaching aids in universities.

The case study in the box at right describes the story of Sergeant James Corcoran, whose efforts to alert authorities to election and vehicle towing improprieties played a role in exposing the larger web of corruption in the City of Bell.

The study includes discussion/reflection questions throughout.  Students also have the opportunity to “meet” Sergeant Corcoran through video clips of a 2013 interview.

As a convenience to faculty, the Institute also offers a list of suggested readings (see box at right) and faculty notes (email

The Institute is deeply grateful to Hastings College of the Law Student Seung Eun Hong, who assisted with the research for this case study.

Meet Sergeant James Corcoran

Meet Sergeant James Corcoran

In the course of preparing the case story, ILG captured Sergeant James Corcoran on video.


For Whom the Whistle Blows

This article addresses the sticky situation that arises when a staff member suspects improper activities but can’t get the attention of his or her supervisor or elected officials to address the issue. 

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