David R. Thomas, the main speaker at today’s Pittsburgh City Council meeting on domestic abuse and policing, believes in thorough investigations, consistent discipline and a safety-first approach when officers are accused of violence against family members, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In Pittsburgh, investigations and discipline are shrouded and officers subject to protection-from-abuse orders are not always barred from carrying guns. The issue came to the fore in June, when three out of four officers promoted at the same time were found to have faced allegations or investigations in the past. At least 34 police officers now on the job have been accused of stalking, threatening, and verbally or physically abusing their spouses, significant others, former domestic partners, or a family member.
The Post-Gazette discovered the allegations against the officers in a search of civil court records. James Malloy, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, “At one time that was as common as dirt. But we don’t have that now.  We will not tolerate a police officer beating up his wife.” “This type of crime traditionally has not been treated like other kinds of crime,” said Thomas, an ex-police corporal who teaches on domestic violence in Johns Hopkins University’s Police Executive Leadership Program. “Traditionally, this type of crime is not enforced against officers.  They hem and they haw and they don’t take it seriously.” Thomas helped write the International Association of Chiefs of Police model policy on domestic violence, and has been a consultant to law enforcement on the topic for eight years.