Officer Makes an Arrest: Of His Wife?

We leave for an annual two week family beach vacation on Saturday, so my commenting on other blogs and email responses will likely be delayed during that time.

While I am gone, I do plan to continue with 4 posts per week.

Regarding the following post, I was not able to find a link to the articles related to the original story--as the information resides behind a dreaded password-protected news site.
__________________________________________________


Earlier this year, Benton (PA) police officer Gene Barrett was the only cop on-duty in the quiet Central Pennsylvania community of 914 residents.

When officers working solo need back-up or assistance, the Benton Police Department, like other tiny agencies, employs mutual aid agreements with neighboring police agencies like the Pennsylvania State Police--so despite being alone, help was one radio call away for Officer Barrett.

The officer's shift was most memorable on that winter day, not for any call that he was dispatched to, but for an incident that found him--a domestic disturbance between Barrett and his wife.

The specifics of the domestic vary depending on the two different versions reported by the husband and wife, but here is what I gather happened:
Barrett's wife was in her truck and the pair began arguing in a public place while the officer was on-duty (he was driving his patrol car).  The incident escalated when Barrett's wife questioned the officer about having lunch with another woman. 

Officer Barrett then stated he was "acting on instinct" and tried to "defuse the situation" when he removed Mrs. Barrett from her vehicle, placed her on the ground, handcuffed her, and put her in the back of his patrol car.  

His wife's version is similar but describes her being pulled from the truck, thrown to the ground, and handcuffed. 

Obviously, no criminal charges were pursued against Barrett's wife, and the officer had his Pennsylvania police certification taken after the woman filed a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order against him. 

Recently, the PFA was either dropped or ran its legal course (I don't recall), and now the officer is trying to regain his law enforcement certification.
--------------------------

 A couple of thoughts on this odd situation:

  • I mentioned above that even small police departments have mutual aid agreements.  It does not matter if the officer is the only one on-duty, he/she can still request assistance from other agencies if that officer becomes involved in a domestic dispute or something similar.

    What should an officer do when confronted with such a problem?  You call for other officers, other supervisors, your own chief, etc., and you sit there with your mouth shut or whatever it takes to keep the situation from escalating until the police arrive.
  • If your law enforcement "instinct" is to become involved in a domestic disturbance with your wife while on-duty and in uniform, and then to "defuse" it by arresting and handcuffing her, then it is a fair assessment that you should be pursuing other career options.
 I am surprised that this story slipped through the cracks and did not draw national media attention.

31 comments:

Renee said...

All I can say is ... wow.

Sister Copinherhair said...

Indubitably threatens to arrest me all the time. ;)

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

Are they still together? This is very interesting to say the least. Have fun on your vacay! We'll miss you around Blog Land.

Matthew Rush said...

That is effing crazy. I'm guessing this was probably the only department the man could make it into.

Shell said...

How strange! You're right- I don't know how this story slipped through the cracks!

Stopping over from Just Cherish Today.

squirrelsloveacorns said...

Wow. That marriage must not be doing so well anymore. If I were a cop I wouldn't dare arrest my spouse. That's just asking for a divorce!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

That is an incredible, but oh so true, similar story that also happened in Florida!

Your comments were right on about how the situation should have been handled. I am glad that cop is not still on the force and hope he and his wife have separated miles apart unless they have been through extensive counseling and resolved their domestic disputes.

Elena said...

Enjoy your vacation! Hopefully there won't be any oil where you are going...

carma said...

I trust that they have since gone their separate ways...

Lydia Kang said...

Ugh, wow. In any other situation, they would have just yelled at each other, no handcuffs. Wow.

Rebecca Watson said...

You are my friday featured blogger today! :) You're posts are always so well written and inspiring! :)

justcherishtoday.com

J. J. in Phila said...

>>If your law enforcement "instinct" is to become involved in a domestic disturbance with your wife while on-duty and in uniform, and then to "defuse" it by arresting and handcuffing her, then it is a fair assessment that you should be pursuing other career options. <<

Or file for divorce, quickly. ;)

Enjoy your vacation.

Herding Cats said...

Wow. So unprofessional! Talk about a damaged relationship...

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Sounds a lot like what the "stateys" did up in Williamsport, PA (years ago).

That city (then 20K pop.)didn't HAVE a "proper" police department, so teh state police patrolled the area and had an HQ in town.

Soetimes the smaller the towns, the LARGER the problems (because everyone seems to KNOW one another).

Have a great vacation (and weekend).

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I agree with everyone here. Bad choices all around. Nobody managed to hang onto their dignity and to bad result.

At the same time, I wonder if we think how other professions can use their skills/tools to argue in marriage? I was married to a shrink and big whoops! if I made a Freudian slip. (!!) LOL.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

P.S.

Have a FANTASTIC vacation!!!!!

Elana Johnson said...

Hope you have a lovely vacay!

And holy craziness!

Stephanie Faris said...

Unprofessional. VERY unprofessional. I would say there are regulations and statutes that will easily keep the department from giving back his badge if they choose.

Des said...

oh wow. I'm surprised this wasn't made more public as well.

Crystal Escobar said...

oh wow, that's crazy!!!
I'm visiting you from Just Cherish Today. I'm following you now for Follow Friday.

Candice said...

That is hilarious. Talk about abuse of power!! Sheesh!

Jackie said...

Ummm WOW, that's crazy. If there was an issue then he should have walked away and called for mutual aid.

That being said I've seen a police officer arrest his own Brother (drunk and disorderly) because mutual aid was not available. (Small towns, very small towns... less than 800 people and one police officer in each community some times just not enough to go around). His brother forgave him after he sobered up though... So you know sometimes there is a reason... However that seems unreasonable

xx
Jaxs

Kristin said...

Wow. His poor wife!

klrson said...

All I can say is: Truth is always stranger than fiction.

jodeeluna said...

How convenient! Wouldn't we all like to arrest our spouses at times but most of us have to practice some self-restraint.

Have a great vacation!

The Ladies\' Man said...

Definitely a strange situation. In my life, I've often been on the other side of the law, so my view on LE is a bit hazy at best :) I think though, that there are good peace officers who strive to maintain order and protect the peace, but then there are others like this gentleman who may have let his personal problems intrude on his professionalism.

Lourie said...

Seriously? That is just crazy. Found my way here from Rebecca's.

gladwellmusau said...

Surprisingly different I can say!

Gladwell

SuziCate said...

Hmmmm....does the word controlling come to mind? Possibly guilty? Hmmmm...makes one wonder by the way he handled it. Surprised it didn't make headlines, but not surprised she took him back. Often women who are contolled or are in an abusive marriage are afraid to leave. Just does not sound normal to me.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

This seems like a conflict of interest and scary that this can happen. Are they still together? Surprised we didnt hear of this!

ocmist said...

Not a particularly brilliant officer was he? Hope you are having/had a great vacation.