Massachusetts Department Takes a Stand Against Police Family Violence

The Seekonk, Massachusetts Police Department has taken a strong stance against officer-involved domestic violence. The town has unanimously approved a new domestic abuse policy that sets out clear protocol for how police should respond to a domestic violence crime being committed by a fellow officer. The new policy requires that the officer must be arrested, and that the arrest must be immediately brought to the attention of the police chief. The officer’s weapon, badge, police identification and any off-duty firearms also must be confiscated. Additionally a special domestic violence officer will be required to respond to the scene and to advise the victim regarding shelters and other victim services. While this policy may seem like it should be common practice, there has been a long documented history of officers not following proper procedure when it comes to “policing their own,” instead turning a blind eye and allowing the officer crime to go unreported and undisciplined. Seekonk Chief Vito Scotti said that the new policy is important because it explicitly reminds officers of their expected code of conduct. As departments across the country are embracing new policies in response to the police officer domestic violence scandals of the last decade, the National Center for Women & Policing urges that more departments move to implement policies like Seekonk’s. Domestic violence perpetrators working in law enforcement puts the public, and especially women, at risk. See the National Center’s police family violence fact sheet for more information.


Providence Journal, 12/19/02

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