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Friday, December 23, 2011

[WI] "Ignorance is no excuse," says David Thomas, who helped write the IACP's officer-involved domestic violence policy


..."Ignorance is no excuse," said David R. Thomas, an instructor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who helped write a model policy for the international association [of Chiefs of Police - IACP]. "If they're willing to look the other way on this type of criminal activity, where does it stop?"... Friends who work in the criminal justice system also tend to believe abusive officers who label their victims crazy or dishonest, according to Thomas. "He's a master manipulator," Thomas said of an abusive officer. "He's a batterer with a PhD"... Police departments that give abusive officers access to their guns need to be aware of that possibility, according to Thomas, of Johns Hopkins. "People think you go on duty and all of the sudden there's a protective shield around you and you're not going to do anything stupid anymore? It's just ignorant," he said... While officers' attitudes about domestic violence in the community have evolved over time, most police around the country still don't take it seriously when the perpetrator is one of their own, according to experts. Handling such accusations the same as any other criminal allegation against police, as Milwaukee does, isn't good enough, experts say. Because responding officers can be biased, one of the goals of a model policy on officer-involved domestic violence is to remove their discretion, said Thomas, who retired from the Police Department in Montgomery County, Md., in 2000. Following written guidelines step by step protects the victim, the investigator and the alleged perpetrator, he said. "If I'm accused of being involved in this activity and I didn't do it, I want a good, clear exhaustive investigation so I can be exonerated," he said... "We should, in law enforcement, be held to a higher standard because we're supposed to enforce the law. ... Otherwise, it's the fox watching the henhouse"...

Source: Police department ignores national standards for officers accused of domestic violence, Milwaukee Journal SentinelBy Gina Barton

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