Commentary: Police must never abuse their power for sex

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 12:53am
By Holly Spann, Tennessee Women’s Political Caucus

When I was the president of the Nashville chapter of the National Organization for Women in the late 1980s, Metro was in the midst of a sex-for-grades scandal at the police academy and pregnancies at the women’s prison.
Fast forward 20 years later and the sexual coercion still exists in the police department, as evidenced by an officer’s recent admission to participating in two sexual encounters in his patrol car while on duty in 2006.
We have always encouraged women and children to respect police officers and seek them out for assistance when needed. These types of incidents reflect on all Metro Nashville police officers and severely denigrate women.

While no one can be held responsible for the actions of this officer, the department and the Chief have the authority to make it blatantly clear this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
Many would like to extend the benefit of the doubt that the two acts in this officer’s patrol car were consensual. The fact of the matter is that it will never been known since he was badged-up and in police uniform; yielding a position of power over the subject’s freedom who performed the alleged sexual acts on him.
At least one reported incident involved a disorderly patron who was reported to have been under the influence of alcohol or other substances that required a ride home. When potential impaired judgment is coupled with police power, the concept of “consensual sex” is highly suspect and questionable.
Hopefully, there will be a strong message that this type of sexual behavior will absolutely not be tolerated — under any circumstances. No woman in this city should ever be coerced into a sexual encounter with an on-duty police office. Women (and men) in this city demand this abuse of power be dealt with seriously.
Thanks to Governor Bredesen’s administration, the Department of Safety now deals a heavy blow to those in the Tennessee Highway Patrol caught with their pants down while on duty. Metro, the mayor and the police chief should take a lesson and follow suit.

7 Comments on this post:

By: dooley on 11/4/09 at 2:52

This has been a long time practice for police officers here . About 10 t0 15 of my high school class went to work for the police department in positions of patrol officer , detective , and even police artist .Most of them suffered broken marriages because of this behavior which for the most part went unchecked by the dept.

By: dargent7 on 11/4/09 at 6:09

This needs to be restated? It's like a Newsletter from your church reminding everyone that their priest or pastor has been reminded to not molest boys or have sex "consensually" with underage women.
My best guess is these two "encounters" with the cop were with willing participants.
Today's woman is no where near the 80's girl.

By: Loner on 11/4/09 at 6:45

Good morning, Nashville!

Another LTE from a professional zealot? The acronym "LTE" may stand for Lobbyiists To the Editor, at the NCP. Hey, they gotta make a buck too, I suppose.

I found two cases where Spellcheck failed the author, the words are spelled correctly, but they are the wrong words. In the fifth paragraph, "yielding a position of power", probably was supposed to be "wielding a position of power". In the seventh paragraph, "on-duty police office", probably was supposed to be, "on-duty police officer".

Other than those two glitches, the LTE was well-written, though a bit lengthy, IMO. I agree with the author's points and her conclusions. Cops who take advantage of women for the purpose of sexual exploitation should be fired, make restitution to their victims and the offending cop's name should be placed on a national fecal roster of people who should not be police officers, ever again.

I wonder if the author was being facetious when she wrote, "the Department of Safety now deals a heavy blow to those in the Tennessee Highway Patrol caught with their pants down while on duty". Isn't that what the cops were looking for?

By: Loner on 11/4/09 at 7:16

Ben Dover asked if I was in the NY 23rd District. I'm not; that district is way up North and East of here. Massena, Watertown and Saranac Lake are some of the cities in that frosty district.

The seat became vacant when President Obama picked Rep. McHugh, of the NY 23rd, to be Sec. of the Army.

The 23rd District is very heavily Republican, but the Democratic candidate squeaked out a narrow victory when the "liberal" GOP candidate was forced out by heavy hitters like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who enthusiastically supported the Conservative Party's pick.

The GOP drop-out threw her support behind the Democrat, at the last minute. Even VP Biden made a trip up there.

Although the far-right failed, they almost won with a dark-horse third-party choice, this will only embolden the theocrats. As I have said before, Palin's ego knows no bounds, she might run in 2012, as a third party spoiler.

A Palin-Limbaugh ticket would get about 30% of the popular vote, according to my crystal balls. The remaining 70% would be split by the Dems and the GOP. The winner of such a three-way race would have little legitimacy, especially if the electoral vote did not reflect the popular vote. Rush and Sarahcuda could paralyze the political process with their mischief-making.

By: Dragon on 11/4/09 at 8:09

Loner, I don't think the quotes around the word liberal are necessary. The fact that she dropped out and endorsed the Democratic candidate removed all doubt.

By: Loner on 11/4/09 at 10:42

Your point is well-taken, Dragon.

By: not_guilty on 11/4/09 at 11:03

Ms. Spann's comments are appropriate. However, if I remember correctly, the dateline on the recent story about the policeman's sexual encounter was Kingsport, and the woman was identified as being from Kingsport. Where did the incident take place, and was a Nashville police officer involved?