Tacoma Police Department
Officer Involved Domestic Violence Policy

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

            In April 2003, the Brame tragedy thrust the issue of police-perpetrated domestic violence into the national spotlight.  The tragedy galvanized local and regional law enforcement personnel, City and community leaders and domestic violence advocacy groups and experts from across the nation to work together to seek and implement effective solutions to this serious, and sometimes lethal, social problem. 

            The attached package of Tacoma Police Department officer-involved domestic violence policies is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between this diverse collection of professionals, leaders, advocates and victims.  Experts throughout the nation were consulted, and specific ideas on officer-involved domestic violence were gleaned from other police department policies from around the country. 

            Drafts of these new Tacoma Police Departments policies were reviewed and approved by the Taskforce on Officer Involved Domestic Violence, an organization of more than 70 professionals representing domestic violence advocates, treatment providers, legislators, the legal profession, and victims of police-perpetrated domestic violence.  Representatives from the Taskforce were also included in the initial drafting committee. 

            The purpose of these policies is to implement the most effective strategies for dealing with police as perpetrators and/or victims of domestic violence.  The goals of the policies are:

  • To prevent domestic violence through mandated reporting, training and close cooperation with domestic violence advocacy groups.  This includes a requirement for abuser self-reporting.
  • To assist victims of domestic violence by maintaining strict confidentiality, connecting victims to advocacy groups and providing extensive employee domestic violence training.
  • To fully examine the background of all prospective Tacoma Police Department officers prior to hiring.  All police applicants will undergo an extensive background investigation to ensure they have no history of being an abuser. All applicants must be examined and approved by a psychologist and a polygrapher prior to being hired.
  • To investigate all domestic violence allegations against Tacoma Police Department employees.  The investigation, depending on the jurisdiction of the incident, may include both a criminal investigation and an administrative investigation. 
  • To respond immediately and effectively to all allegations of domestic violence against Tacoma Police Department employees.  

The development and implementation of these policies underscores the Tacoma Police Departmentís commitment to creating and maintaining a work environment that does not tolerate domestic violence.  We aim to ensure a secure reporting process for victims of domestic violence and to respond swiftly to their need for safety and confidentiality. The Tacoma Police Department is committed to upholding the most rigorous standards of conduct and accountability for its employees.