Romantic relationships develop in every field of work. Some employers ignore the issue, some address them as they occur, while others have stringent policies against dating among employees.
Most police agencies have specific policies against romances involving members of the same line of supervision or chain of command. Obviously, these encounters can be demoralizing, damaging to the public trust, and most of all, a liability magnet—an area that no government official wants increased exposure.
I initially saw this story referenced on Officer.com. Making national headlines, a recent videoed encounter between two police officers has resulted in a large controversy for a small law enforcement agency in Ohio:
…The police chief of a northeast Ohio township has retired after a video became public showing him and a female office kissing and caressing in the front of a police cruiser while a prisoner was in the back seat.You can watch the dashboard video from the cruiser over at the local newspaper’s (Canton (OH) Repository) website as they have additional coverage including emails between the two persons.
Timothy Escola retired Tuesday night after four years with the Perry Township police department about 50 miles south of Cleveland. Law Director Charles Hall says Escola's retirement closes an internal investigation.
Just to caution you, the video is not graphic at all, but you may feel a little like a peeping-tom after viewing it--I sure did.
The incident is sad to watch knowing that both are married and that there is a prisoner in the back seat, but I was particularly disappointed in Officer Janine England’s (the other officer in the video) prepared statement that was released through her attorney:
“Being a female police officer in a predominantly male profession comes with its own set of challenges. Notwithstanding those challenges, officer England, who has an exemplary professional record, recognizes that the conduct in the police cruiser was inappropriate.”What is wrong with this statement?
How about it: 1) leads with excuse (one I would describe as lame); 2) lacks an apology for her own behavior; and, 3) fails to apologize or acknowledge how her actions have compromised the public’s trust in her department; thereby making the jobs of other officers that much more difficult.
Taking responsibility for mistakes, apologizing, and then recognizing others (including the agency) that have been negatively impacted by poor behavior should always be a priority in these situations.
Stating that she was ashamed of her actions and apologizing to her family, colleagues, and citizens of the community for how the incident has detracted from the law enforcement mission of her agency would have been a much better approach to encourage forgiveness.
Not surprising the female officers at Officer.com were also underwhelmed with England’s statement.
The former chief’s statement is here.
Officials decided not to take any disciplinary action against Officer England, and the inquiry into the chief’s behavior ended when he announced his retirement from the agency.