Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Putting one foot infront of the other

Yesterday afternoon took the next steps towards organizing a Post Agenda for City Council re the promotions of 3 officers with histories of domestic violence.

A small group gathered to start hammering out what is essential information & who should deliver it at the Post Agenda. We'll meet again in a week. A big part of this is that we intend to offer concrete steps that need to be taken. Council, I hope, will be unanimous in agreeing to implement policy that'll affect the necessary changes.

Oh boy are there necessary changes - I found out that incidents of domestic violence committed by officers are not recorded, so it naturally follows that they aren't able to report on them either. We don't know if these incidents are on the increase, decrease, spiked for some reason, etc. I also didn't know that officers aren't regularly re-evaluated with psych/other tests. Think about it, they get a psych test when they apply/enter (still not sure which), but what changes occur within an individual after a year, two years, three years of policing? I'll go out on a limb here & guess ALOT of changes. There's also no regular monitoring or use of lie detector tests. Currently, as I understand it, officers "self report". I doubt that very many "self report" when they are served with a protection from abuse order.

I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the challenges faced by victims of domestic violence perpetrated by police officers. It is all the horror faced by members of the general population & then some. Think about it - officers know various ways to interrogate & intimidate. They know how to hurt without leaving marks. They have access to databases & other sources of information. They can spy on the victim's computer use. They, too often, have the complicity of their fellow officers.

The good news is that the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police already has painstakingly drafted policy (over the course of 4 - 5 yrs. with experts) that police depts. can adapt & adopt. The wheel doesn't need to be re-invented. The policy was created in the late '90's, time enough has passed to review its effect on police depts. that've implemented it, allowing us to use the best of the models.

To date, there is no date for the Post Agenda, all we know is that it'll be after Labor Day.

Sorry this is so hurried & for any inaccuracies, just wanted to send out an update.

To read a heart rending, excellent series of articles on this topic, see the Seattle Intelligencer's "Badge of Dishonor", think this link will get you there:


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