M2D2- The Dudley Police Department (DPD).DOCX

M2D2- The Dudley Police Department (DPD)

The Dudley Police Department (DPD), a 135-officer/staff organization, has recently held a departmental meeting for the purpose of issuing new guidelines for police officers to follow when responding to calls for domestic disturbances. Chief Harold Knox is a former military man, having served 20 years in the Navy as a Commander. He has been with the DPD for 11 years. The DPD is located in a southern state, and the community served has a population of 75,000. During the last five years, there has been an increase in the calls for service relating to domestic violence.

It has been Chief Knox's custom to allow his officers broad discretion when responding to these calls. His officers have visited fighting spouses and have attempted to resolve situations on site rather than make an arrest of either spouse. Needless to say, there have been incidents where one spouse has been arrested for assaulting the other spouse, although the injured spouse seldom has followed through with a criminal complaint. A local women's group, Women Now, has sent some of its leaders to visit Chief Knox in recent weeks, because it seems that two local shelters for battered women have received larger numbers of female victims of apparent spousal abuse. The women seem to have related the same story whenever police officers have visited their homes in response to domestic violence complaints. The police officers have done little or nothing, other than lecture the spouses and leave. Essentially they would like Chief Knox to direct his officers to take a more pro-active role in monitoring calls for service involving complaints of domestic violence. One of the Women Now leaders is the mayor's niece. She was a victim of spousal abuse herself and now heads one of the shelters for battered women. She spoke to her uncle, the mayor, and advised him to "see what he could do" in order to get some action from the investigating officers. In fact, just before the visit from the women of Women Now, Mayor Phil Riley called Chief Knox and suggested that he "do something about this domestic violence situation." Knox assured Mayor Riley that he, Knox, would do whatever he could.

At the called meeting of officers, Chief Knox distributed some materials related to spousal abuse, some statistical information, and a profile of batterers which he had obtained from Women Now. He also issued a new policy letter directing that beginning immediately; all police officers who respond to domestic violence calls must arrest one of the spouses and take them to jail. He advised these officers that they should probably arrest the men, since they were most likely to be the batterers in the situation, absent any evidence to the contrary. He labeled the new policy letter the "Mandatory Arrest Policy for the Dudley Police Department." The officers looked around at each other and shrugged. When asked if they had any questions, some of the officers asked the chief if they had to arrest a spouse if the spouses were simply arguing and there was no indication of physical violence. Off the cuff, the chief responded, "Take one in and book 'em regardless. If you've got to go out there, make 'em pay for your time." The officers grumbled, but they left the meeting intent on following the chief's orders.

Over the next month, all officers followed the directive of mandatory arrest in all calls involving domestic violence. Incredibly, 68 spouses were arrested during that 30-day period. Many of these spouses were shocked to be handcuffed, placed in a squad car, and taken to jail. In fact, during that month, many of the other spouses came to the jail to bail out their husbands. Most of them expressed their dissatisfaction over the situation. Many of the women said, "Whose bright idea was that to arrest our husbands? We're not going to press any charges. What's the point, anyway?" The police officers involved would merely say, "It's our new policy. We're just following orders." Many of the women said, "Well, they're stupid orders if you ask me. It cost me quite a bit of money to get my husband out of jail. Are you guys going to do this every time my husband and I have an argument?"

One of the arrestees was a city councilman. He had been arrested following a fight with his wife. His wife struck him with her fist and bloodied his nose. He tried to keep her from hitting him and held her wrists. She screamed at him, and one of the neighbors who lived nearby called the police. They were there in minutes, and despite his city councilman position and bloody nose, they arrested him and took him to jail. His wife was irate over the incident. One of the first things the city councilman did when he got out of jail was to have a chat with the mayor about the out-of-control police officers under Chief Knox's direction. "What sort of police chief do we have, anyway, locking up people for having innocent fights? It's incredible." The mayor sighed and said he would see what could be done. The city councilman said that he was going to bring this matter to the attention of the city council and put some pressure on the police chief to "change things."

Now, please continue on to the discussion questions

QUESTION: Are there any ethical problems raised when one or more city council members get caught up in the mandatory arrest policy as victims themselves? How would you go about revising your policy of mandatory arrest to satisfy the women’s group and the community at large? Discuss.

-Must be at least 200 words
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