In 1999, as a response to the special safety concerns for victims of officers’ abuse, the International Association of Chiefs of Police created a model policy for police departments to follow. However, little research has been done on the topic.
Saunders collaborated on the study with doctoral student Stephanie Grace Prost and professor Karen Oehme of Florida State’s College of Social Work. They asked more than 1,100 police officers to respond to two case scenarios of police officers stalking or assaulting their spouses.
“Arrest became a likely response after officers were asked to imagine they witnessed a victim’s injuries and heard the victim say she’d been choked by her partner,” Saunders said.
Officers’ next most common response was to refer the offending officer for help, specifically to an employee assistance program or mental health counselor and, to a lesser extent, to the department chaplain. Prost says that such referrals are useful but raised some concerns.