Friday, February 10, 2012

Police Sexual Misconduct

Police sexual assault and misconduct has long been an issue in police departments and agencies. From serious forms of police sexual misconduct (PSM) like rape, sexual assault, and sex with a juvenile to non-criminal incidents like flirting on duty and consensual sex on duty, this form of misconduct has recently had police chiefs and police departments searching for ways to crack down on this issue. Although most departments do not have a formal written policy about sexual misconduct, they believe that a formal written policy would be beneficial in controlling this behavior. 
Most officers and high rank officers believe that it is just "boys being boys" or that it was consensual and off duty when it occurred. Others know that officers abuse their power and use PSM as an alternative to giving a ticket to someone.The point here though is that PSM  is a serious subject and many need to realize that it has been happening for decades and needs to be stopped. As we all know, officers are not watched or monitored while on duty and can do anything they want. This is the main reason why PSM has gotten out of hand. With no monitoring of their actions, officers are free to abuse their power all day if they want. Monitoring officers has got to be the main solution for cutting down on PSM.
Another solution would be for victims of police sexual misconduct to come forward with proof of misconduct. Fortunately, this has already been put in motion. As the article below states, "Police officers are going to jail for these offenses and for significant periods of time in both state and federal prisons." The issue here though is that a lot of these victims have credibility issues with their stories. On top of that, "courts require very specific knowledge by supervisors to hold them (officers) liable in these sexual misconduct cases." This has been an issue for a while now. The burden of proof is always lacking in dire situations like these. When it comes down to the termination of a career and the breaking of someone's life, courts are reluctant to proceed unless the proof is overwhelming and well documented.

In this video below, the sexual misconduct is well documented and fortunately for the woman in this case, the abusing officer has a history of sexual misconduct. In cases like these, it is easy to see just how often officers can get away with this and how scary it is for victims to endure and report the incident for fear that they may not be taken seriously.

Overall, it is up to the supervisors of these officers to make sure that conduct like this does not occur; and if it does, there needs to be mandatory consequences. Policies need to be updated to include sexual misconduct and officers, as early as the academy, need to be informed about this subject and what happens to those break the rules pertaining to it.



  1. I agree, police officers do not need to be making sexual comments towards people. If they are I believe they need to be put on a suspension of their job or if it keeps occurring they might even need to be fired. Do I believe they need to go to prison over this, maybe not they probably just need to be told to find another job and sent on their sweet way.

    I think that this topic does happen often in many police departments. and victims need to come forward and let people with more people know about this actions.

  2. I also agree that this is an issue that should not be happening, but I am not at all surprised by it. Police officer get the upper hand in almost most situations because it is their word against yours and the badge alone say that they are "honest and upholding the law", though we know not all of them do. I agree there should be a written policy and certain procedure taken by those who are accused of such actions. Sad to say though, this wont eliminate the situation completely because there are always loop hole, especially in this situations.

  3. Again, I will agree that this is an issue within police departments. More significantly, it is an issue that we are citizens rarely hear about. The sexual misconduct is an issue because in nearly all cases the victim of the offense is unlikely to be believed compared to a police officer. I would imagine that most all departments would already have written policy and protocol regarding sexual misconduct. Although it is an issue, I do not feel it is at rapid amounts and I would also argue that in most cases it will get investigated. However, prior to the last police professionalism ear I would not have any arguments to be the claims being investigated.

  4. It is just sad that our society looks to our police for help, we should feel safe going to our police and want them around, but more recently it seems that all of our worries are about the police (i.e. police brutality and now sexual misconduct). I don't know if it is just me, but I feel that maybe the minimal requirement of only needing a high school diploma may be, in part, a reason for some of these immature behaviors that police bring on to our public.

    Police are people, just like everyone else and I do not like the perception that because they have a badge they get the upper hand and they are perfect, clearly this is not the case. After reading things like this, my perception of the police only alters to a negative form and makes me realize that a badge and uniform is just me judgin the book by its cover and not looking at the real picture.

  5. Yes it is wrong that police do get away with alot of sexual misconduct. But the reality is that most people with professions with power are going to abuse it. I don't think that will ever change. We can only hope that more people with integrity will get hired and will not abuse the power given to them.

  6. I do believe that the authority and power innate within being a police officer can give rise to PSM. I also believe that it is a problem. I do not at all think it is ethical for police to trade sex for tickets. I think conduct that rises to this level should result in firing and prosecution. However, I do not believe that harmless flirting on the job should result in such harsh punishment IF IT IS INVITED BEHAVIOR. Obviously, if someone asks an officer to stop making comments then he should, but what if it is a mutual flirtation? I see nothing wrong with that as long as it does not get in the way of his job.