For many of those charged with sexual offenses, law enforcement may be the unfriendly enemy. Police have the unfortunate job of enforcing laws that dictate where we go, who we see, what we do. They search our homes, ask invasive questions, make our lives and those of our family down-right miserable. The very sight of blue uniforms and police cars can drive up our blood pressure and make us second-guess our actions. While police are not necessarily the law makers, they are the enforcers and often the object and target of our anger, warranted or not.
But they are not so different from us.
In fact, in some cases, they are us.
During the past year, many of those charged with possession of child pornography, a registerable offense, were police officers.
Last week, 50 police officers in the United Kingdom were arrested on child pornography charges as part of a sting called Operation Ore. The officers were among 1,300 people arrested. As of this writing, 8 officers have been charged, the rest are awaiting further investigation.
Last August a Fort Lauderdale, Florida police officer was arrested by the FBI, on charges of possessing child pornography.
Last month, a police officer in Ann Arundel, Maryland was charged with soliciting a minor and 10 counts of possessing child pornography.
In September of last year, a decorated police officer in Florida was arrested on allegations that he uploaded child pornography to a social media application.
In NY, a 10year police force veteran faced charges of possessing and receiving internet child pornography.
In Edmonton, Canada, a civilian employee with the Edmonton Police Service, was arrested and charged with making, distributing and possessing child pornography.
Badges and blue uniforms don’t make people immune from making poor choices in life or mistakes when using the internet. Police officers aren’t exempt from bad behaviors or even malicious intentions.
They are people, humans. No better, no worse than the rest of us.
Reading news stories, and there are many, about police officers charged with sexual offenses, was surprisingly kind of sad. These men in blue, men who on a Monday, were seen as “family, brethren, part of a blue- brotherhood” by their peers, when accused of offenses on Tuesday, were suddenly turned on, vilified, now viewed as “disgraceful and disgusting” by those same comrades. We’ve all been in those same shoes, loving family or friends whose views may have changed quickly once you were charged. Co-workers once friendly, now can’t seem to distance themselves far enough from you.
For many law enforcement officers accused of a sexual offense, their experiences are the same as ours and in many cases worse. As “keepers of the peace” they were held to a higher standard by their communities. For them to have engaged in behavior considered a “sexual offense” by the very community they were charged with keeping “safe”, changes the way they are viewed. Now their community sees them as pariah, they are labeled a “sex offender”, they are cast out of their blue-brotherhood, banished, like so many of us.
So, after reading this will you suddenly have warm, kind, fuzzy feelings towards law enforcement. Probably not.
But, if nothing else, you’ve seen that beneath uniforms and badges, people are just people. And those in law enforcement, those charged with the same offenses that many reading this blog may have been charged with, they are just like us, they are us.
Not all good or bad, just human.