Lt. Hans Walters, a Las Vegas cop, killed his wife and child, called 911 and then set fire to his home.
Then he waited. When a SWAT team came, they found Walters waiting outside with a handgun. Ignoring demands to drop the weapon, Walters ran back into the burning building and shot himself.
Walters was 52-years old and had supervised patrol officers for Las Vegas’ Metro Police Department.
And he had a history of domestic violence.
Ray Rice. Jonathan Dwyer. Ray McDonald. All football players. All convicted of domestic violence. When an athlete with name recognition slaps around his intimate partner the country stands up and notices.
It’s different with cops. When a cop gets tagged for domestic violence, there seems to be a collective yawn as the country reaches for the remote control and says, “Next.”
Most would be surprised to learn <police have a more substantial problem with domestic abuse than the National Football League. In fact, research shows domestic violence is as much as four-times greater in law enforcement than the overall population.
Where’s the outrage?
Since Ray Rice was videoed knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator, the conventional wisdom has been the NFL should suspend — or even ban — a member found assailing a wife or girlfriend.
It seems the overall focus on NFL directives is peculiar and deluded. True, when an extremely muscular individual renders a much tinier, more vulnerable person senseless, as Rice did, prison is appropriate. Employers just aren’t a satisfactory substitute for prosecutors, judges, and juries.
With all that said, there is different profession considerably more appalling when it comes to domestic violence. Anyone who thinks zero tolerance for NFL players bashing their wives is good policy should look at cops who attack their wives or girlfriends. Studies show the intimate partners of cops experienced domestic abuse more often than the broad population.
While all companion abuse is intolerable, it is a particular problem when abusers are the people who beaten and battered women are told to contact for help.
If there’s a job for which domestic violence should be a barrier, isn’t it the job which provides a deadly weapon, trains persons to track people and depends on discernment and prerogative to defend the victim against domestic violence?
The vitriol piled on the NFL for not suspending, or firing, domestic abusers compared to the lack of comparable demands pointed to police departments, indicates many persons don’t know the extent of domestic violence among cops.
In a nation shocked by Ray Rice’s actions, shouldn’t people be more horrified by the examples of domestic violence among cops?
This isn’t a complete list. Just a fast roundup of stories pulled from the initial webpages of Google. Stats about ‘blue’ domestic violence are shocking.
The blue-violence has been around awhile. The National Center for Women and Policing published a report in the 1990s which found “at least 40% of police officer’s families have experienced domestic violence.” Compare that to just 10% of families in general.
Another study from the same era discovered a ratio of 25% of law enforcement families has experienced domestic violence.
Cops usually manage incidents of domestically violence privately, and no official report is made or kept. The ‘informal’ approach is in straight opposition to state legislative rules, and often departmental policies, regarding the proper response to domestic abuse crimes. Cops who are pronounced guilty of domestic abuse aren’t apt to be dismissed, detained or even prosecuted.
For decades, officers in Nevada would immediately be shown the door for a positive marijuana test but could keep working after spousal battery. Domestic violence is underreported, and cops are given the benefit of the doubt in borderline cases. Still, among cops who were charged, arrested and convicted — over half kept employment in the department.
Alex Roslin and Susanna Hope, co-authors of “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence,” write:
“Police departments mostly ignore when cops are accused of domestic violence — they let it slide.”