AP investigation: Broken system lets problem officers jump from job to job
Law enforcement officers accused of sexual misconduct have jumped from job to job — and at times faced fresh allegations that include raping women — because of a tattered network of laws and lax screening that allowed them to stay on the beat.
A yearlong Associated Press investigation into sex abuse by cops, jail guards, deputies and other state law enforcement officials uncovered a broken system for policing bad officers, with significant flaws in how agencies deal with those suspected of sexual misconduct and glaring warning signs that go unreported or get overlooked.
The AP examination found about 1,000 officers in six years who lost their licenses because of sex crimes that included rape, or sexual misconduct ranging from propositioning citizens to consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse. That number fails to reflect the breadth of the problem, however, because it measures only officers who faced an official process called decertification and not all states have such a system or provided records.
In states that do revoke law enforcement licenses, the process can take years, enabling problem officers to find other jobs. And while there is a national index of decertified officers, contributing to it is voluntary and experts say the database, which is not open to the public, is missing thousands of names.