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View Full Version : Penalty for an affair between two cops?



la-gamine
05-01-2015, 03:18 AM
I have a situation in my story where two cops have an affair with each other. One is a married man with the rank of lieutenant and the other a single female patrol officer. They are caught of course (on company time I might add) and I would just like any suggestions on what would be a plausible penalty for them.

I'd rather not have them fired if I can help it. I'm thinking perhaps a suspension? If I do go this route would it be likely that they would transfer one of them to another station or would they still be allowed to work together?

Thank you!

Maze Runner
05-01-2015, 03:52 AM
This happened to an acquaintance of mine and his female partner. They were both reassigned, but my understanding is the punishment did not end there. I don't have the specifics on what that entailed.

Maryn
05-01-2015, 04:57 PM
Here, they'd both be cited for unprofessional conduct, a permanent record in their employee files. The junior officer would be transferred as far from the other as they can, and quite possibly given "bad" assignment. The junior officer would also be encouraged to file sexual harassment charges against the senior officer, whose position of authority may have made it unwise to refuse his or her advances without harming the junior officer's career.

It happens in real life, and they don't take it lightly.

Maryn, whose city's police department has such matters in the news

cmhbob
05-01-2015, 05:25 PM
Sex on duty? Many departments would fire them both. Ohio Highway Patrol just fired a trooper over this, though the sex was with a civilian.

Stuff like that would fall under the "conduct unbecoming an officer" section.

TessB
05-01-2015, 05:48 PM
Officially, sure. Unofficially, I know of a number of examples where the thin blue line comes into play, and the whole thing is ignored but for a quiet lecture or shift change, especially if the senior officer is close to the chief. If that. The junior officer in those circumstances would be far more likely to be penalized / fired / changed to a bad shift.

There's a culture of self-protection within a lot of law enforcement divisions that protects insiders, so if you want one or both of the officers in question to only have a slap on the wrist plot-wise, it's perfectly realistic to have that happen as well.

This article is talking about sexual harassment and assault within the RCMP, but demonstrates what I mean. (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/19/rcmp-harassment-female-mounties_n_1898058.html)

WeaselFire
05-05-2015, 08:39 PM
I'd rather not have them fired if I can help it. I'm thinking perhaps a suspension? If I do go this route would it be likely that they would transfer one of them to another station or would they still be allowed to work together?

You can write this almost anyway you need to. In some agencies, if she is subordinate to him in the chain of command, termination is automatic. In many, demotion, suspension without pay, transfer, or even nothing at all are quite possible.

The most common charge is conduct unbecoming for the senior officer.

Jeff

ironmikezero
05-05-2015, 10:17 PM
It will all depend upon what relevant written/published policy the department has (and enforces), and the specific administrative procedures articulated therein. Typically, someone in a position of authority within the agency will have the discretionary option to pursue the administrative process and subsequent sanctions - or not.

What does your story need?

la-gamine
05-06-2015, 12:37 AM
First, thanks for the replies! The POV character in this situation is actually the female officer so I need to keep her around. I've decided to have the lieutenant offer to transfer instead, since he's only been there a few months he's not as connected to the other officers. The female will receive a suspension so she can rethink things.

T Robinson
05-06-2015, 02:52 AM
First, thanks for the replies! The POV character in this situation is actually the female officer so I need to keep her around. I've decided to have the lieutenant offer to transfer instead, since he's only been there a few months he's not as connected to the other officers. The female will receive a suspension so she can rethink things.

How can he be a LT if he has only been there a few months?

la-gamine
05-06-2015, 06:12 AM
Because he just moved to the area/transfered.

Taejang
05-06-2015, 05:46 PM
The punishment may also depend on how public the 'scandal' becomes. If they were caught by officers and no civilians found out, that could be very different than if they were caught by a journalist.

la-gamine
05-06-2015, 07:35 PM
Oh, I never really thought of that, what if it is a journalist that discovers them?

Taejang
05-06-2015, 07:42 PM
Oh, I never really thought of that, what if it is a journalist that discovers them?
There are still a lot of variables there. Feelings in the community toward the police, how the journalist views the police, if the journalist and his/her company make an issue of it, what other events are in the news (particularly if something more sensational is happening to take center stage), if anything like that has happened in the same police jurisdiction recently, etc etc etc.

Not to mention the changes based upon culture, based on the time period of the story and the country where it takes place.

But if nothing else is in the news, the journalist would write up a piece on this. The community may well pressure the police, provoking a stiffer punishment. Or the police chief may not appreciate having his department's dirty laundry aired in the public square, which could lead to either a harsher punishment or a firm defense, depending on the chief's personality.

So many variables.

la-gamine
05-06-2015, 07:53 PM
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply! This gives me quite a few things I can incorporate.