Domestic Violence and the BPD

Domestic violence is a huge problem in Massachusetts. According to Jane Doe Inc., there was a record-breaking 43 domestic homicides in the state last year, and the number of domestic homicides has tripled since 2005. Pair this with today’s news that the Boston Police Department is going easy on officers accused of abusing their wives and girlfriends, and it’s not looking so good for 2008.

Despite the media attention on how many women were killed due to violence last year, the Police Department is surprisingly easy on officers who abuse women.

The punishments handed down by Police Department brass in those cases include two five-day suspensions, three 30-day suspensions and one 40-day suspension. Of the remaining officers who were investigated, two retired, two resigned and one has a criminal case pending.

The BPD has a new policy that states officers can be fired for domestic abuse allegations, even if he or she isn’t found guilty in court, but it isn’t an automatic punishment.

Making an example of cops who abuse women won’t stop the increase in domestic violence in the state. Many experts point to tight budgets that force local government to stop programs that help prevent abuse and homicides in the home. But this isn’t quibbling over overtime abuse—this is actual abuse.

By having a zero-tolerance policy within its own ranks, it sends the message that the police department is serious about prosecuting domestic violence. Ignoring abuse doesn’t make it go away. Just ask the Archdiocese.