Kissing the Boss


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.

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.
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.

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.

14 comments:

Meadowlark said...

It takes two to tango.
B*tch.

Sorry. Just my opinion.

mappchik said...

You said it, Meadowlark. B*tch.

I know that in a politically correct world, the board overseeing the matter had to tally up the additional transgressions of the chief in having had this sort of relationship with a subordinate. But unless the female officer proven she was a victim of sexual harassment and in fear for her job, she shouldn't have been let off with just public embarrassment.

If she'd been officially disciplined, with part of her penalty being a real admittance of her failings in the matter, then I don't think I'd be so harsh.

angelcel said...

I must be a bit slow today. That first sentence of her statement...is she suggesting in any way that she was coerced? She's looking all googly eyed and loved up to me.

My thought are that he clearly wasn't concentrating on the road. Neither were concentrating on the burglar in the back, and on that basis alone they both needed to apologise and/or be disciplined. Aside from that, both are numbskulls...what? They *forgot* about the on-board cameras?! Boy, their families must be pretty miffed.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

First, I love your quote of the day! You rock : ) Admittedly, though, it's pretty hard to do the right thing all the time.

Kissing in front of a prisoner. YEESH! You would think, at the very least, a prisoner present would be an anti-aphrodisiac. Or maybe these two are exhibitionists? They did, after all, know there was a camera in the car.

Anyway, harassment is one thing, romance another. This sounds like an odd kind of romance to me--one that went seriously wrong.

The Chief going after his subordinate is unacceptable on even more levels than a general romance. Clearly, he is in a position of power and as such, should know better.

I'm curious why the focus in on HER not apologizing. Did we hear any kind of "sorry" from the Chief? He quit, but that's isn't a "sorry."

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

"that isn't" I meant. Sometimes, I can't type at all!

Meadowlark said...

Katherine, at least for me the issue was that her carefully worded statement smacked of the typical "I'm a victim and did nothing wrong" mentality. Being a woman in a man's world is a call for increased professionalism, not less.

And as far as the chief? He's beyond hope, and I'm sure his "apology" would piss me off just as much.

mrs. fuzz said...

Interesting. A lot of what is wrong with the world today is people not taking responsibility for their actions. Even though this has ruined many lives I'm sure, I'm glad that it was "caught" on tape so maybe they will discontinue this behavior in the future and prevent other ruined lives. People should really behave as though they were being recorded. Did they know that they were probably being recorded?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments.

Katherine: I focused on Officer England's statement because I expected much more--especially since she had time to craft it and is using an attorney to assist who (in my opinion) totally missed the mark.

I linked the ex-chief's statement toward the end of the article. It is not the best either, but he does lead with what I wanted to see:

"Timothy Escola, former Perry Township Chief of Police, regrets and apologizes to his family and to the citizens of Perry Township for engaging in inappropriate behavior; and, he accepts full responsibility and accountability for his actions, along with the attendant consequences..."

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Ooops! Sorry I didn't read your link, Slam. Not thorough enough.

Meadow, this is hardly a fair statement: "Being a woman in a man's world is a call for increased professionalism, not less." Why should we as women be held to a separate standard because we have different private parts? You said before that it takes two. Therefore....

Meadowlark said...

Katherine,

First, she used the phrase "“Being a female police officer in a predominantly male profession comes with its own set of challenges. "

At this point, in my dim mind, she's pulling the 'gender card'. Which torques me beyond belief. THAT is the reason I say she has to "raise the bar" as far as professionalism.

Separate standards? Well, I don't think we can have it both ways. If we go into something with the idea that there are 'gender challenges' then MAKING THAT ASSUMPTION, we'd better hold OURSELVES to a higher standard.

My opinion? Based upon nothing but knowing women and men and my gut? She was using her gender to get special treatment, however subtle. A male officer probably wouldn't have written that heartfelt little missive to the chief.

And quite honestly, she didn't look like a poor, put-upon, "i have to do this to keep my job" little thing, now did she?

Gee, didn't mean to sound so angry, but the one thing that pissed me off in the Marine Corps is when some dumb bimbo acted like a girl to get things. GRRRRRRR. I'll fail before I resort to 'chickdom'.

OK, I'm done. Sorry for hijacking your comments, and Katherine, I'm not nearly as b*tchy as I sound. Well, maybe I am, but it's not directed at you.

Peace out, all.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Ah ha! Now I totally understand, Meadow. Thanks for clarifying. And knowing you worked in probably a mostly-male environment (Marines)helps me understand more where you are coming from. (Thank you for your service, BTW.)

I've worked in a mostly-male environment only twice in my life. I approached it like there were no gender differences because frankly, that's how I saw it. Some of them didn't though. Let's just say the results were not good.

Slamdunk said...

Sorry I forgot to mention on your comment Angel--that is a good point and could be the answer for the odd statement. That a civil suit is planned for the near future and this statment is simply the opening salvo. I another person elsewhere stating the same thing today.

I do think the posted emails that the local newspaper has, and I assumne there are others, would not be helpful in supporting a civil case--certainly just my view.

copswife said...

So ... is she implying that she was pushed into doing this to get ahead? Or is she just randomly throwing out the gender card. Methinks it's the second. And, Meadowlark, I totally agree with your statements. As women, we should hold OUTSELVES to higher standards. She obviously was not.

Also, as for his statement. It started out good - he flat out appoligized, no BS. Then he got mad about the allegations of sexual conduct. OK, maybe it was limited to nuzzling and face touching... sure. Then it just got bizzare. Was he saying someone jerryrigged the camera to record them doing wrong? And that they should be prosecuted for it? Everybody should be prosecuted except him, I guess.

It does suck that he got to retire and then they wouldn't accept her resignation but fired her. It's just a mess all around.

Natalie said...

Here, here, Meadowlark! I agree with you wholly!

I think anytime a relationship interferes with a job, it's incredibly unprofessional. I just wish this didn't hit so close to home for the work environment my husband is currently in. What a mess.