Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cops and On-Duty Sex

Reporter Marc Stewart's November 2, 2006, Coeur d'Alene Press article headlined Deputy allegedly had sex on duty says a male Kootenai County deputy sheriff has been fired for on-duty sex with a woman.

How frequently do police officers and deputies engage in on-duty sexual activity in violation of departmental policy if not state law? That's one statistic unlikely to be voluntarily revealed to the public by law enforcement agencies. It happens more often than the public might think.

On October 29, 2006, The Salt Lake Tribune ran an updated article headlined Sex offenses snaring officers. The subhed read, "Utah trend: Careers thrown away; Nearly half of the peace officers whose certifications were revoked in the past five years were in hot water for incidents involving sexual misconduct." It reported that an analysis of 94 Utah peace officer certification revocations between 2000 and 2005 revealed that 43 revocations were for sexual misconduct.

The Tribune figures were provided by the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training.

While it's easy to focus on each offending officer or deputy specifically and characterize these as isolated incidents, it's important for administrators to ask the larger questions: Are our pre-employment psychological screening and background investigation procedures adequate to detect the personalities likely to engage in prohibited behaviors? Are instances of on-duty sexual misconduct (and other volitional misconduct as well) occurring because of inadequate or inexperienced line supervision?