Cops and Relationships

Cops work and live in all kinds of relationships. We may have a car partner or a detective partner that we interact with or we might have a team that we work with. We certainly interact with many peers and supervisors all shift long for four or five days a week.  We work with the community, with the schools, with business leaders, religious leaders, social service and mental health providers and lots and lots of people.

Additionally we may also be involved in a romantic relationship or marriage in our private life that may or may not overlap with work.  For all of this human interaction you would think that we would be great at building and maintaining strong and lasting relationships, but I think most of us would agree that’s not always the case.

In a policy statement made several years ago by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, with the support of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the IACP stated “The rate of domestic violence is estimated to be at least as common as that of the general population and limited research to date indicates the possibility of higher incidence of domestic violence among law enforcement professionals. The IACP, while concerned with variations in assessed levels, takes the position that the problem exists at some serious level and deserves careful attention regardless of estimated occurrences.”

The policy recommends a response on several levels:
A. Prevention and Training
B. Early Warning and Intervention
C. Incident Response Protocols
D. Victim Safety and Protection
E. Post‐Incident Administrative and Criminal Decisions

and the full model policy is available free of charge from the IACP.

Like police officer suicide this is another subject that cops don’t like to talk about but we need to.  If we are going to further advance the professionalism of our noble profession they we need to be the ones addressing these issues and cleaning our own house.  We must acknowledge these issues that kill or injure our colleagues, and their loved ones, and we need to conduct a threat assessment on this topic like anything else in our lives.  We need to address issues that are hurting us, making us weaker, and ruining our lives.  It’s time for us to take charge of our own problems and make ourselves as safe and healthy as we can be so we can better serve our communities.

If your department doesn’t have a system and policy in place to address the issue of domestic violence by police officers contact the IACP for their help.

For technical assistance or to address concerns, please contact:
Aviva Kurash
Police Response to Violence Against Women Project Manager
International Association of Chiefs of Police
515 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

800/The‐IACP x 809

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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