Thursday, February 5, 2009

Police Officers Who Stalk Intimate Partners

Police Who Stalk Their Intimate Partners: Public Trust at Risk

Police officers who stalk their intimate partners use specialized means to do so. While there may be few law enforcement officers who cross this line, engaging in this type of criminal behavior, does and is happening around the nation. While it would be agreed that police who stalk others, including their intimate partners, would be doing so against stalking laws, one would have to admit that although seemingly rare, it is justifiably and certainly not within the realm of possibility. It does happen, but is usually not reported, as the victim lives in great fear.

Police are not immune from participating in criminal acts; and with domestic violence among law enforcement estimated in studies to be about 40%, compared to 8-10% in the general population, more attention needs to given to this serious and often lethal problem in society.

Considering what is known about stalking behavior, it actually would be easier for a stalker, operating within the confines of a police department, to more easily perpetrate these types of acts of violence while being protected and operating 'under cover.' Officers who stalk, often do so, believing they will not get caught.

How does a police officer stalk?

First of all, officers use whatever skills and training they already possess to commit their crimes 'undercover.' If they have special skills in forensics, stalking, domestic violence, identity theft, just to name a few, they are able to use these specialized skills in the stalking of their prey. Police who stalk use their repertoire of skills accessing department-issued equipment to stalk. It is not uncommon for a cop-stalker to use the exact same equipment utilized and readily available in the department's detective unit, for instance. This arsenal of equipment, normally used to catch criminals, might include voice decoders, phone id spoofers, voice distorters, scramblers and other related devices to disguise one's voice, source of call, etc. Thus, this is the first line of attack; whatever is familiar to the officer in his line of work is easily and readily available for use in committing the acts of stalking. All of the skills of the officer, whether if be narcotics, identity theft, or investigation; all these abilities are used against the stalking victim.

Secondly, officers use other officers. It is very easy for an officer to enlist the 'brotherhood in blue' to participate in the acts of violence to contribute to the further victimization of the stalker's intimate partner. Officers who stalk may enlist the assistance of their fellow officers to also make a few calls to the victim, add a few extra drive-bys to the victim's house for the purpose of surveillance or they may actually make false charges or reports that the victim is stalking the officer, known commonly as 'false victimization.' In other words, the police officer stalker convinces his co-workers that HE is being victimized by a stalker, and all defenses go up! On some occasions the police officer stalker is able to convince friends, legal acquaintances and other officers that an arrest of the victim needs to be made and indeed this is what happens.

Thirdly, officers who stalk their intimate partners, use special methods to do so. Officers have been known to use their department's fax machine to place calls to the victim, or they make calls from places that would not be easily traceable, like from the neighboring domestic violence offices,where the officer frequents. Officers who have FBI training in stalking and caller id spoofing, may use these state-of-the-art methods, as they are familiar with high-profile cases and they are very aware of how various criminals and cyber-stalkers were able to perform acts of violence without leaving any evidence or leads.

A police officer who stalks an intimate partner, is a risk to society. The acts of a police officer stalker entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the public, as part of a course of action and conduct of behavior defined as criminal activity, is not only alarming but should be of grave concern to everyone. Stalking by police officers needs to be stopped; all parties who have knowledge of facts, can and are opening themselves up to civil and criminal liability for participating in such acts. Police who stalk their intimate partners need to be stopped and arrested, just as if they were like anyone else.

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