According to several organizations, including the Battered Women’s Support Services, police officer-involved domestic violence is 4x that of the national average. The National Center for Women and Policing states that 40% of police households experience some type of domestic violence, versus 10% for households with no police connections. Even the wildly popular pro-police website, PoliceOne.com, talks about police involved domestic violence and how police departments can combat the problem.
But why would police officers, who are supposed to protect and serve the public, beat, rape, or even kill their loved-ones behind closed doors – at up to 4x the national average? According to the Department of Justice, it’s called Sociopathic Police Personality.
According to the document on the DOJ’s website, it states there are two types of violent police officers: (1) Rotten Barrel Theory which states that the stressful conditions of the police occupation constitute a primary risk factor for police misconduct (2) Rotten Apple Theory which states that deviant police officers brought their undesirable traits into the policing profession when they were hired.
Whatever the case, whether they were naturally susceptible to violent behavior, or it was learned on the job from other violent officers, police officers are a major risk to their loved-ones. From spousal/partner abuse to child abuse, it’s dangerous and potentially deadly to be living with a cop.
Though the percentage of cops who abuse their family members are estimated to be up to 4x the national average, that number could actually be many times greater. In the civilian world, when a woman is beaten or raped by her husband, she has the option of going to the police – that option isn’t always there for the spouse of a police officer. If the spouse were to file a police report, the report would be taken by the abuser’s co-workers and friends. In those situations, there is no anonymity or protections during the investigative phase and will usually cause the domestic-violence situation at home to only worsen.
Police who physically and sexually abuse their spouse are also more likely to sexually abuse young children. Here are a few of the headlines from around the Country that made national news.