According to a report by the Associated Press, a ticket or arrest is not the worst thing that can happen if pulled over by the police. 1,000 police officers have lost their badges over a six-year period for charges of sexual misconduct, including rape, sodomy, child pornography and other types of sexual no-nos.
Those were the cops whose badges were taken. Some states, like New York and California, don’t even do that and they have the largest law enforcement agencies in the country.
‘It’s happening probably in every law enforcement agency across the country,’ said Chief Bernadette DiPino of the Sarasota Police Department in Florida, who helped study the problem for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. ‘It’s so underreported and people are scared that if they call and complain about a police officer, they think every other police officer is going to be then out to get them.’
In interviews, lawyers and even police chiefs told the AP that some departments also stay quiet about improprieties to limit liability, allowing bad officers to quietly resign, keep their certification and sometimes jump to other jobs.
Now, to be fair, this is far from the majority of police officers, but it does point to a serious problem with law enforcement. The personality traits that attract people to law enforcement aren’t always the personality traits that should be working with the public.
Many cops in America fall into the authoritarian personality type, which includes a “preoccupation with dominance-submission.” We’re not talking about “50 Shades of Gray,” although that probably applies – we’re talking about forcefully making people submit. How far is that from sexual abuse and misconduct? Not very; sexual abuse is often more about the control than the actual sex act.
The other and more obvious problem is that the “Blue Wall of Silence” means that traditionally, police will cover up the misdeeds of their colleagues, meaning that many cops feel themselves above the law.
Featured image via Pixabay.