Recent reports out of Memphis, Tennessee, indicate that a member of its police force may have committed a serious crime against an intimate partner. According to records, a 27-year-old male member of the department was taken into custody earlier this month for reportedly grabbing his girlfriend and slamming her to the ground, an act of domestic violence. Researchers have found that domestic violence amongst police families is two to four times more likely to happen than in non-police families. This data has serious ramifications for family law.
Law enforcement officers are often well-connected within the legal system and are knowledgeable on the events that transpire after an abuse victim comes forward. For many officers, a conviction related to domestic abuse can mean the end of their careers as members of the police force.
Abusers that double as police officers often leave their victims wondering what to do because the abusers know the system, they know district attorneys, they know what to say and how to say it in court, they are trained in the use of firearms-in many cases, they even know where shelters are. This leaves victims feeling frightened and unable to free themselves from a life of abuse.
Due to some of these reasons, there are laws in place that bar an officer that has been convicted of certain crimes from possessing a firearm, including misdemeanor domestic violence. Restraining orders related to domestic violence also eliminate an officer's ability to have a gun.
The 27-year-old police officer was charged with domestic assault against his 23-year-old girlfriend. He has been a member of the Memphis Police Department since April 2010 and will be required to attend an anger management and domestic violence program. A minimum suspension of 15 days without pay will be applied and a second violation of the department's domestic violence policy will result in his termination.
Source: Commercial Appeal, "Domestic violence involving Memphis police is a high-stakes, thorny issue," Kevin McKenzie, Jan. 9, 2013