Policing’s Dirty Secret: Abusing Female Suspects


Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper writes on Seattle Post-Intelligencer.com about “policing’s dirty little secret”: officers who abuse female suspects. He cites the recent Seattle-area case of an officer who allegedly promised to make the charges “go away” if a motorist he’d stopped would date him, and submit to his sexual advances. Samuel Walker and Dawn Irlbeck cite hundreds of cases in “Driving While Female: A National Problem in Police Misconduct.” Let’s assume that “only” one percent of all police officers are sexual predators, Stamper says. A force of a thousand cops? That’s 10 predators in uniform.

Stamper suggests that police supervisors review their subordinates’ work, ride with them, monitor their activities, review trends and patterns in each individual officer’s conduct and performance. He says it’s not hard to detect patterns in traffic stops: “Who’s he stopping, demographically? Where? For what violations? Is he warning rather than citing (or citing when he should be warning)? Does he have a pattern of requesting that charges be dropped? Are 80 percent of the people he stops young, attractive women?”

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