Police Do Not Hold Themselves Accountable, Says 32 Year Police Veteran

The transcript below is from PBS Frontline's A Death in St. Augustine, reported by New York Times journalist Walt Bogdanich. The Frontline report raised serious questions about the legitimacy of violent crime investigations involving police officers as suspects. Here Walt Bogdanich interviews long time police officer Dottie Davis on her experience with such cases.

Dottie Davis spent 32 years on the Fort Wayne, Indiana, police force. She says she was in a violent marriage to a fellow officer. Today, Davis talks to departments around the country about the issue of officer-involved domestic violence.

DOTTIE DAVIS: In my 32 years in law enforcement, I can probably count on these fingers the number of agencies that have actually held officers accountable and terminated their employment. It is very rare that you see an officer even prosecuted because most prosecutors don’t want to file criminal charges against an officer because they need them for their cases.

DOTTIE DAVIS: So many agencies, when I walk in, will say, “Not our agency. Not anybody here.” And the fact of the matter is, it’s estimated six to seven incidents happen before they ever call the police. But if your abuser is the police, you’re going to call his or her agency to the home to investigate?

And in today’s technology, a victim calls 911, well, guess what? Their statement’s right on the screen for every fellow officer and every friend of that officer to read, and to make a call and let him know what she just told the dispatcher and that people are responding.

WALT BOGDANICH: That’s a frightening scenario you just presented.

DOTTIE DAVIS: It’s the truth.