Time and time again is proving the corruption within the walls of the American police departments. Instead of looking out for the public’s safety, the police officers are using their authority and privilege to do what they want without facing any legal jurisdiction. Moreover, only when such actions are recorded or leaked, do the public end up hearing about them. Indeed not all cops are bad, but the rest sure know how to look the other way when such occurrences take place. However, the true extent of this problem is rooted deep and strong. A study has proved that almost 40% of police officers are considered domestic abusers.
Police’s Family Violence Facts
Usually, 10% percent of families of the general population suffer some kind of domestic violence. However, 2 independent studies conducted in 1991 and 1992 have reported that 40% of police families suffer from domestic abuse. Moreover, a third study, published in the National FOP Journal in 1992, found that 24% of the abusers are within the older and more experienced officers. Thus, domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than normal American families in general.
Moreover, a study conducted in 2013 examined 324 cases of domestic violence involving police officers. It showed that out of 226 law enforcement agencies, 281 officers arrested for domestic violence. Some of these officers had multiple criminal cases and multiple victims. This study also noted the lack of recent data surrounding police officers and domestic violence.
The vulnerable state of police officer’s victims
Thus, victims of a police officer are particularly more vulnerable than other domestic abuse victims. Not only do the abusive officers own a gun, but they also know how to manipulate the system to avoid penalties and shift blame to the victim. They are also quite familiar with the locations of battered women’s shelters.
Violent police officers only ever receive light discipline
The data combined from the force’s three-quarters have indicated that the police employees accused of domestic abuse are a third less likely to be convicted than anyone from the general public.
Proof of that is though 23 domestic violence complaints were filed against Boston police employees in 1998-1999, none resulted in criminal prosecution. Another proof is that the San Diego City Attorney normally prosecutes 92% of the domestic violence cases referred to them. However, the data shows that only 42% of the cases involving a police officer as the perpetrator being prosecuted. Moreover, between 1990 and 1997, the Los Angeles Police Department investigated 227 cases of alleged domestic violence committed by police officers. Out of these 227 cases, only 91 were sustained. Also, out of the 91 sustained cases, only 4 resulted in a criminal conviction.
The truth is even those who are proved to be guilty are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution.
On the other hand, an investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department conducted by the Office of the Inspector General stated that when a discipline ends up imposed on officers who are found guilty of domestic violence, it usually is “Exceedingly Light”.
Furthermore, the National Center for Women & Policing reported that the common discipline imposed for a sustained allegation of domestic violence is mostly counseling. Moreover, only 19% of the examined departments indicated that officers would be terminated after a second sustained allegation of domestic violence
Performance Evaluations Not Affected
Adding salt to the wound, not only don’t violent officers face a legal consequence to their hideous actions, but they also get promoted all the same. The study of the Los Angeles Police Department examined these 91 cases more and pointed out that twenty-six of these officers were promoted. Furthermore, six of them were promoted within two years of the reported incident.
Moreover, more than three-fourths of the time, allegations reported concerning domestic abuse are left out of the officer’s performance evaluation.
Such incidents of domestic abuse are by no means rare. Instead of trusting the police to save them from harm, many choose to suffer in silence out of fear of the same people who are supposed to be their silver lining. Moreover, those who speak up end up being mostly silenced by police’s deep-rooted corruption. Such incidents illustrate systemic faults that require a change. They also give the public insight into those red-stained hands trusted with their safety and wellbeing.
Forgie, A. (2019, January 1). Do 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence? It’s complicated. KUTV. https://kutv.com/news/local/40-of-police-officer-families-experience-domestic-violence-study-says
National center for women and policing. (n.d.). National Center For Women and Policing. https://womenandpolicing.com/violenceFS.asp#notes
A route to police abuse? The relation between police officers’ concerns appearing racist and their attitude about the use of force. (n.d.). CONCEPT of Professional Training. https://concept.paloaltou.edu/a-route-to-police-abuse-the-relation-between-police-officers-concern-appearing-racist-and-their-attitude-about-use-of-force/
Townsend, M. (2019, October 20). Domestic abuse within the police force to be investigated. the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/20/domestic-abuse-within-police-force-to-be-investigated