Officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV) is a national problem, with police officer families having higher rates of domestic violence than non–police officer families. OIDV is also an underresearched problem with few studies or proposed solutions. Many victims of OIDV do not report their abuse precisely because their abuser is a police officer, whom they fear is in a unique position to protect him/herself from any legal consequences. Often, OIDV complaints are not investigated properly in a nonbiased manner. While a handful of police agencies around the country have developed specific policies and procedures to deal with OIDV, Washington State has enacted legislation that requires its police agencies to adopt OIDV-specific policies. The International Associations of Chiefs of Police (IACP), an organization that addresses various issues confronting law enforcement, has also developed a model policy on OIDV. This Note proposes that, in light of the Washington legislation and the model policy proposed by the IACP, each state should enact a statute that requires its police agencies to develop policies on OIDV. This Note also outlines a specific set of procedures that such statutes should, at a minimum, require its police agencies to adopt, ranging from educating police officers on domestic violence to developing guidelines on responding to and investigating OIDV complaints.
Family Court Review, 54(3): 487-500, 2016