Today’s Investigative Special Report September 8, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “When Police Step Over The Line”

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Forensic Expert and Author

If you watch television then you most likely have seen law enforcement at their best. Well until they are caught for having sex with a citizen or their partner inside and outside their police vehicle.

Flag of City of Santa Fe
Flag of City of Santa Fe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico a uniformed and apparently on duty law enforcement officer was caught on video having sex with a citizen on top of his police vehicle. An internal investigation was conducted and it was determined by the county prosecutor that the law enforcement officer had not committed a crime. Further, that the officer had been placed on administrative duty and is still an officer.

In researching just how big of a problem this is world-wide there have been numerous incidences and several studies performed in trying to ascertain just how big of a problem this sex is in the law enforcement community on and off duty. There are four scenarios that need evaluated and considered:
1.      A law enforcement officer having sex with his/her partner while on duty.
2.      A law enforcement officer having sex with a citizen while on duty.
3.      A law enforcement officer using his position as an officer to engage in some type of sexual act.
4.      A law enforcement officer who forces women and children to have sex with him instead of charging them with a crime or traffic incident.

English: Police cruiser in Santa Fe, New Mexico
English: Police cruiser in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In sex among law enforcement officer’s while on duty, the information gathered indicates that there are boundaries which are crossed when it comes to appropriate and inappropriate sexual conduct. Although there is a specific course of action an officer can take and make an internal complaint about sexual harassment, there is this law enforcement sub-culture which keeps a multitude of officer’s from reporting those who cross over the line and commit sexual assaults or harassment. Further, there is a common bond which occurs between field training officer and recruit and partners and this emotional and mental attachment may lead to a sexual encounter.

This common bond may present a situation where there are circumstances and opportunities where both officers get sexually excited about having sex with one another while on duty. This common interest has caused officers to be suspended and some to lose their jobs. With the advancement in digital videos on mobile phones, citizens have been filming officers engaged in inappropriate sexual positions while on duty inside and outside their police vehicles.

One of the problems about a possible sexual relationship between officers on duty which are never brought to the attention of the community is due to the rights of the employee to keep the sexual relationship private. Further, one of the reasons for the failure to include the community may be due to the procedures and policies of handling these types of situations internally generally by the incident being investigated by Internal Affairs.

As seen in the Santa Fe, New Mexico case and numerous similar sexual incidents where officers were caught either by colleagues or citizens in precarious sexual positions, these types of scenarios are becoming a major problem with officers not just in the United States, but in the United Kingdom as well.  

In the third scenario officer’s use the uniform to attract and have sexual relationships with women. The women who become involved with the officer generally are not interested in the officer, but in the power the uniform presents. Most of the relationships which occur between the officer and citizen are short lived, because the fantasy about the uniform and the person inside the uniform dissipates as fast as it began.

In the fourth scenario in an article written for theguardian.co.uk authored by Sandra Laveille she states, “In the past four-years 56 law enforcement officers and a handful of community support officers who were found to have abused their position to rape, sexually assaults, or harass women and young people were investigated over such allegations.”
US Navy 100324-N-7948C-373 U.S. Coast Guard Ma...
US Navy 100324-N-7948C-373 U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist Daniel Chase demonstrates proper personnel searching procedures to Nigerian and Ghanaian Sailors during a maritime law enforcement boarding officer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In all of the above scenarios sex seems to definitely have a powerful controlling factor between the two parties involved. Law enforcement officers who have sex with a partner generally results in the break of a marriage where children are involved. The relationships are short-lived in most of the above scenarios, but the damage to families and one another are a cause for the partnership to be dissolved.

So how does a law enforcement agency control the sexual conduct of their law enforcement officers? It seems reasonable and logical that there needs to be an intensive screening process at the recruitment level where the psychological testing emphasizes on categories of self-control, prior issues involving compulsive and impulsive behavior, and other related emotional and mental types of situations, conditions, and behavior.

The law enforcement community must be progressive, intelligent, and competent in their approach to sexual encounters among their officers, sexual conduct, sexual harassment, strict policies on conduct unb
Photography and The Law (2584948850)
Photography and The Law (2584948850) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ecoming an officer, the discipline for crossing and violating sexual boundaries, and so forth.

If the environment is not monitored by leadership or leadership demonstrates that it is appropriate for sexually acting out in any situation then this will set indirect and direct guidelines and policies which are either acceptable or unacceptable. If officers in any given agency are ‘given a pass’ for violating sexual boundaries, then it is possible that the end result would be there would be additional violations. If the administration monitors and continually institutes policies and procedures which advocate strict adherence to the rules and regulations of the departments sexual conduct, then it would seem the violations would likely not occur.

No matter what process is utilized to screen out poor candidates there will always be a small percentage of individuals who will slip through the cracks and violate rules and regulations. These individuals for the most part are the minority of the agency and should be viewed by the agency and community as an anomaly and not the example of the agency and officer’s integrity and reputation.

Sex is a powerful controlling physiological and psychological tool which can be used to someone’s advantage in a relationship, may it be a traffic stop and an exchange for sex, or a sexual relationship with their partner or other types of situations and scenarios. There are a range of possibilities when it comes to sexual relationships. Some are legal and illegal, but depending on the circumstances, the actions of the agency should be decided on a case by case analysis. In the Santa Fe matter, the officer was not charged with a criminal offense. This may not be the case in another jurisdiction. Further, this officer may keep his job, where in another agency the officer may lose his job.

Like sex, leadership is a powerful tool as well. If the law enforcement agency is one which promotes a positive vision and mission statements and adhere to what is written in these statements, then the incidents of sexual assaults, inappropriate sexual relationships, and so forth should be kept to a minimum. It is when the agencies leadership fails to abide by their vision and mission statements where things go sideways and instead of the administration leading the way, the officers lead the way making the rules as they go.

With the integration of the stationary digital cameras in the police vehicles, mobile phones, and pocket cameras, documentation of sexual encounters has never been at the highest exposure rate then it is today. If the officer believes he/she is incapable of being caught in a sexual act, then it may not be comforting for him/her to know that someone maybe watching and recording them.

If you are a law enforcement officer and you are thinking about what has been written in this article, then the question you should be asking yourself is “Will I be one of the victims of the new technological video tools and a recording which could cost me my career?”

Being an integras officer and a reputable law enforcement officer in your community should always be the number one goal, at all times, in any given situation, or wherever you maybe at. The ethical decision should always be to follow the rules and regulations of the job you are paid to perform. ‘To perform’ is not defined as performing a sexual act, although some officers have thought otherwise.

Description: Larry-Daly_01

Lawrence W. Daly           
Puyallup, WA

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