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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Link to: Time to shatter the silence about cops who batter

Usually I carve down articles to excerpts to cut the fluff or give an idea of what the article is mainly about, but in this case there is more on the original site than I can indicate without stealing words - so what's here is just to lead you to the original blog:

Time to shatter the silence about cops who batter
Vintage Berry Wine, Open Salon
Daleen Berry
October 29, 2008
[Excerpts] When does a cop who crosses the line become a criminal? At what point should a department take action, and how serious should the consequences be? And when does it become acceptable for family members to expose habitual corruption because no one else will?... My marriage lasted briefly, because my out-of-control husband crossed the line at home. His actions on and off the job resulted in family tension that reached the breaking point in 1996, when a patrol car pulled up and four officers spilled out, guns drawn and pointed directly at him. I didn’t see it: I was safely across town after having filed commitment papers for him. But I’ve visualized that scene numerous times, after he told me about it from his locked hospital room as an armed guard stood nearby. Handcuffed and shackled, he promised to “never forgive” me for what he said would end his police career... Giving us an idea how such problems should be handled, the International Association of Chiefs of Police has issued a policy on police-perpetrated domestic violence. In July 2003 it outlined “a position of zero tolerance by the department,” noting that federal law prohibits cops found guilty of criminal charges from possessing firearms. Maybe that’s why many departments don’t take the hard stance they should when their officers are suspected of battering their families: they know few positions are available for cops who can’t carry (or even own) a firearm... And [Alaska Governor Sarah] Palin’s family problems show we’re long overdue for a national dialogue about this problem. Law enforcement is composed of a tight band of brothers, first and foremost loyal to each other. They should be: it keeps them alive in dangerous situations. So loyalty has its place — but not when cops expect their colleagues or superiors to look the other way while they bend departmental rules or break the law. That loyalty has no place within law enforcement, but seems to be the kind many cops find: My ex is again employed as a police officer and [Alaska State Trooper Michael] Wooten walked away with a five-day suspension. [Full blog entry on Open Salon here]

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