Carrollton, TX Police Department
While out making rounds on May 3rd, we came across what appeared to be an ordinary traffic stop. We pulled in to check it out and start recording in case something happened. As we were waiting, it became clear the male officer was stalling waiting for another officer. History led us to believe it was going to be yet another in a long line of “I smell pot” stops, and he was waiting on backup to assist with a vehicle search. Along came the female cop. Since they immediately began the process of removing the suspect from the vehicle, it was clear our assumptions were incorrect, and there was going to be an arrest. We don’t know what the arrest was for, but the arrest process really caught our attention with what appeared to be a “reach around”.
At first, things seemed to be fairly standard operating procedure. They got him to assume the position, and cuffed him right away. Then comes the pat down. In real time, things didn’t seem so out of the ordinary, but it did occur to us that there might be a double standard. Can a female officer do an thorough body search on a male suspect?
If this had been a mere Terry Stop type pat down, things wouldn’t really be intrusive enough to make a difference. However, a full body search for an arrest does get pretty down and dirty, invading the most personal of personal areas of the suspect. Of course, this apparently has to be done, but what are the rules as far as the opposite sex?
The general standard we have seen over and over when the suspect is female and the arresting officer is male, a female officer is called in for the deed. In this case, the suspect is male, the arresting officer is male (and judging by the stripes on his arm, a supervisor), but the officer called in and ends up doing the search is female.
The reality is, many guys probably prefer a female do the job if things are going to get THAT intimate. If not that, at the very least they probably wouldn’t stand up and demand a male officer to get up in his personal business. Imagine the repercussions from your friends if THAT video got out.
Still, does that change the rules any? If female cops are automatically called in for thorough body searches on female suspects, is it a gender double standard to allow a female cop to do that kind of search on a male suspect? Do female cops feel the need to prove they can handle a man’s reaction to them grabbing his junk?
Maybe they just can’t trust male cops no matter who the suspect is.
Should there be consideration for the citizen in who checks them? Should there be consideration for the officer in who they check? Should they just say screw it, since they don’t seem to care much about the public anyway? If you believe findings from all the Internal Affairs reports we see these days, they never do anything wrong.
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