Home / Badge Abuse / Cops Beat Their Wives & Girlfriends At Double The National Rate, Still Receive Promotions

Cops Beat Their Wives & Girlfriends At Double The National Rate, Still Receive Promotions

Statistics show that 1 in 4 women in the US is a victim of domestic violence, those numbers jump to 1 in 2 if they are married to a cop.

May 7, 2014

Law Enforcement officers beat their significant other at nearly double the national average. Several studies, according to Diane Wetendorf, author of Police Domestic Violence: Handbook for Victims, indicate that women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40 percent of police officer families. For American women overall, the figure is 25 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to The Advocates for Human Rights Organization, studies indicate that police families are 2-4 times more likely than the general population to experience domestic violence, making the potential for disparities in protective success particularly troubling.

Historian John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, has a famous quote, Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This rings true through all levels of government ‘power,’ however it is particular prevalent among police officers.

Sociopaths are attracted to positions in which they are able to assert authority over others, so it should come as no surprise that there are higher concentrations of sociopaths within law enforcement.

The trouble with spousal abuse lies in the very nature of police work. The authority and control in the wrong hands, will be misused, according to domestic violence counselors.

What makes police domestic violence more difficult to deal with is the fact that women feel scared to report it. Even advocates for battered women are reluctant to dive into domestic violence cases involving police for fear of alienating the agencies they rely upon for help in other abuse cases,  according to a report by SFGate.

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When other women report their abuse, they do so to law enforcement officers. Think about it from the position of the one being abused by a law enforcement officer. The one doing the beating is simultaneously holding a position in which they are tasked with preventing that very abuse!

“There are a lot of good cops who go into the work for the right reasons, to help people. But then you have these others who are more interested in the authority, in the badge and the gun.”

Diane Wetendorf told SFGate in an interview,

“The biggest problem for a woman reporting that she’s been abused by her police officer husband or boyfriend is that nobody believes you.”

“There are a lot of good cops who go into the work for the right reasons, to help people. But then you have these others who are more interested in the authority, in the badge and the gun.”

“They start out with command presence and voice to gain and maintain control, and if that doesn’t work, they go up the scale with an increasing amount of force until they get compliance,” Wetendorf said. “Unfortunately, these guys use the same technique with their wives and girlfriends. And some of them go from 0 to 60 right away.”

These women not only fear retaliation, but also have apprehension about their husbands losing their jobs, thus stifling their own economic future.

If they do report it they often run into skepticism from the same law enforcement system they are complaining to.

“A big part of police culture is the code of silence, the prosecutors depend on police for their cases, the police depend on each other – it’s a very insulated system,” says Wetendorf. Cops will all too often look the other way when it is “one of their own” facing accusations. 

An example of this tendency to cover up domestic police abuse can be seen in the case of Jeremy Yachik. This monster beat and tortured his daughter for years. His girlfriend even filmed the abuse with her cellphone and brought the footage to the police department that Yachik worked for.

After showing the video to Glen Johnson, the Police Chief, they failed to respond and she was forced to find another venue to expose this abuse.

Also a study conducted by the Domestic Violence Task Force called Domestic Violence in the Los Angeles Police Department: How Well Does the Los Angeles Police Department Police Its Own? revealed that performance evaluations of cops with history of domestic violence are largely unaffected.The study of the Los Angeles Police Department further examined the 91 cases in which an allegation of domestic violence was sustained against an officer.

  • Over three-fourths of the time, this sustained allegation was not mentioned in the officer’s performance evaluation.
  • Twenty-six of these officers (29%) were promoted, including six who were promoted within two years of the incident.
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The report concluded that “employees with sustained allegations were neither barred from moving to desired positions nor transferred out of assignments that were inconsistent with the sustained allegation”

Wetendorf points out the most common fears when reporting police domestic abuse in her handbook:

If your abuser is an officer of the law, you may be afraid to:

  • Call the police — He is the police.
  • Go to a shelter — He knows where the shelters are located.
  • Have him arrested — Responding officers may invoke the code of silence.
  • Take him to court — It’s your word against that of an officer, and he knows the system.
  • Drop the charges — You could lose any future credibility and protection.
  • Seek a conviction — He will probably lose his job and retaliate against you.

These fears can make someone feel incredibly trapped and feel like there is no way out.

If you or someone you know is a victim of this type of abuse we encourage you to no longer remain silent. As long as people go unpunished for their abuse, they will continue their abuse.

Film it, record it, expose it in any manner you can. Tell us your story and we will expose these abusive jackboots for the cowards they are.


1 Johnson, L.B. (1991). On the front lines: Police stress and family well-being. Hearing before the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families House of Representatives: 102 Congress First Session May 20 (p. 32-48). Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.

2 Neidig, P.H., Russell, H.E. & Seng, A.F. (1992). Interspousal aggression in law enforcement families: A preliminary investigation. Police Studies, Vol. 15 (1), p. 30-38.

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3 P.H. Neidig, A.F. Seng, and H.E. Russell, “Interspousal Aggression in Law Enforcement Personnel Attending the FOP Biennial Conference,” National FOP Journal. Fall/Winter 1992, 25-28.

  • prehatredism

    No comments….?….Really America? smh

  • B.N.

    Ok, I’ll make a comment. I find the article disturbing. And not because of the subject. There might very well be a problem with DV and police officers. However, the article the author bases his claim on is 1. 25 years old. 2. Testimony before congress, not from a peer reviewed article. 3. Anecdotal evidence from a study based on the stresses in police officers life (it was not a DV study), and 4. The author of the study even admitted that she doesn’t know how the data they collected truly correlates to national averages. That took me eight minutes of research to figure out. It’s articles like these (poorly researched) that flood Twitter and Facebook that ruin honest discourse. It either isn’t a real issue, or is an issue, but because of the poor research, opposition can easily disregard it. All this article does is inflame an already weary public’s distrust of the police. This article is part of the problem, and doesn’t help the nation get better.

    • chris n

      fuck you

      • B.N.

        That’s a helpful comment. Glad you could contribute to the conversation in a constructive way.

    • ella reece

      Police officers as a group are well known, have always been known and will continue to have the problem of committing domestic abuse on both spouses and children at disproprtionately high rates, because they can mostly only deal with conflicts in a COWARDLY fashion, because of apologists like yourself and because they refuse to acknowledge that there is even a problem. If a regular accountant, Doctor, Nurse, tradesman, pilot, or any other profession beat up his wife and abused their children WITHOUT THE INHERENT PROTECTION OF OTHER CORRUPT COLLEAGUES who help them hide out and protect them in their denial, we would describe them correctly – as COWARDLY!.

      This study and the others WERE done acknowledging the stressors that are inherently part of a police officer’s life. Policemen are not drafted. They voluntarily apply for the job KNOWING those inherent stressors. Some of them do a great job, the job they are paid for, first being raised to take responsibility for their actions. They are aware of and take the public TRUST seriously. Others are CLEARLY unsuited for the job. They know it. We know it. Even ignorant people know it. Yet they brutalize and murder people who pay their salaries, then whine, whine, whine, lie and get protected and are kept on to murder again and again even under the glare of the camera.

      People SHOULD protest. The REAL heroes are those who stand up and do so in spite of the nasty little racists who hide like roaches and are now coming out of the woodwork. Kapernick is a true AMERICAN HERO.

      • B.N.

        Ella Reece, I’m not sure why my comment would warrant such vitriol. First, I never apologized for anything. I even acknowledged there could be a problem. My issue was with the data backing up the author’s thesis. It’s a data point that is a quarter of a century old. The data was a study done on the stressors of police life, NOT about domestic violence. So the author using a study, not about domestic violence, delivered in a congressional hearing, not based on a peer reviewed scientific journal, wrote about a problem that may or may not have existed 25 years ago.
        Saying it is “well known” that police officers, as a group, are prone to domestic violence is not backed up by any sort of data that I can find. If you’ve seen such a study, or evidence, please post a link. I am always open to understanding or helping define a problem. Making overly generalized statements does nothing to open discourse nor raise awareness of the problem. Instead it is inflammatory, and shifts the focus away from the real issue.
        I’ll disagree with you about Kapernick. There are other things he could’ve done to raise awareness of the issue. Not standing for the National Anthem did nothing to raise awareness, and instead, shifted focus to him as an individual, and made a divisive topic even more so. I would’ve been much more impressed if he had started a charity or raised money for ones that already exist that promote the cause he stands for. Not standing is EASY, anyone can not stand. He has money and fame, he could do so much more. He has the money to help the kids of those killed. He has the means to start education programs. He has the fame to start grass roots community events that help bridge the increasing gap between police, and those they presumably protect. All he did was get 3 days of his name being on ESPN, and more memes on Facebook than anyone else during that time. He did eventually decide to donate money, but he should have led with that.
        I’m actually a little bit hesitant to post this. I couldn’t figure out if your comment was truly based on wanting to have an open and honest discourse, or try to inflame. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

        • ella reece

          You are NOT a child. You probably were born here, lived here all your life. Even in recent racial history (starting BEFORE OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT was even born – so it aint his fault that “all this racial stuff is happening” ), we ALL have heard of the brutality of the racists. We have seen the pictures of emmett till’s face & body- a 14 year old child kidnapped from his elderly grandfather and brutalized and murdered by adult white cowardly men – somebody’s father, somebody’s son, somebody’s neighbor, who then went about neighborhood business as if nothing mattered. You have seen and heard reports of Sandra bland, Tamir Rice, eleanor Bumpers, Laquan McDonald, and on and on. non-white AMERICANS brutalized and murdered by police for in many cases, infractions or stopped and accosted for NO reason. 9 black people who prayed for a racist white man DYLAN ROOF who accepted those offers to God and then sooooo steeped in hate, he calmly MURDERED them in cold blood in that church and THEN was rewarded by the police with food.
          His assault weapon was not an impediment to them in the way a wallet or cell phone or skittles would be for a black woman or man.

          AS AN AMERICAN – What have YOU done. What funds have YOU raised; when did YOU kneel or stand or protest.When did YOU speak out at your job or church or neighborhood bar, or even around your dinner table. We have allll also heard of the excuses and dissembling from not-standing-up, not-sitting-down, not-speaking-out, turning-a-blind-eye, it-is-THEIR-problem, doing-THAT-is-so-easy GOOD Americans just like you. I have not heard Colin Kaepernick asking you for permission to NOT stand; I have not heard Colin Kaepernick telling YOU how to protest or in fact whether to sit on teh sidelines of life. It is NOT his job and neither is it mine or anybody else’s and he is NOT asking for your or anybody else’s approval of the way he wants to express the RIGHTS guaranteed by the American Constitution.

          When Martin Luther King marched, I am sure there were a lot of “good” americans who did not like his method and who heard descriptions and words similar to your “vitriol” – because their actions made cowardly Americans uncomfortable. When the boycott came in 1955-56, I am sure there were a lot of “good” Americans who did not like all those poorly paid, brutalized, degraded maids walking quietly in hot and cold weather for their rights. Look back and see how they treated the modern day hero Muhammad Ali … back then. We are in the information age B.N. What i did not live through, I looked up and researched. If you want to know art history, you look it up and research it. Shakespeare’s lifespan was in 16th and 17th century and if you want to know about this dead white man – you look it up. YOU live NOW in THIS American society, 1000TV channels and programs, the Internet, books. You dont have to be black or brown to figure it out. You dont need a teacher. Do it yourself. Stop being lazy and cowardly. And if you judge my assessment of this assault and brutalization on AMERICAN non-white lives as “vitriol”, I dont care. I dont know you anymore than Colin Kaepernick does. Too late to play patty cake.

    • ella reece

      when your child or mother or sister or husband or son gets shot … then we want to hear your crap about “research”.

  • need help Denver, CO

    do you know any lawyers helping wives of police? I called the police for help when my husband abused me and they arrested ME! I went to jail and am now needing help in court so I don’t get a domestic violence and harassment on my record!

    • I am so sorry…I am in the Philadelphia, PA area, I am the one who goes into the courts here. When it does involve a Police Officer the courts would rather believe the officer because of his position. I wish I was their to help you. You are more than welcomed to contact me.

  • Brittany

    This is so true. I’ve dealt with so many abusive cops and one even broke my bosses spine. My professors have been hurt by cops for helping victims. Cops retaliate against people who do the right thing and stand up for vicitms. I was actually just threatened by one two days ago. It’s terrible. The whole police system is corrupt.

  • newlife

    23 years ago I married a mentally and physically abusive guy who I just found out has been promoted to Sergeant in Emmaus, Pa. We were married in 1992 and the marriage only lasted 6 months. The mental abuse was bad, but losing my unborn child to his abuse was tragic. He told his family and friends that I had punched my stomach causing me to lose the pregnancy. His lies were believed by anyone who knew him. Of course he got away with his actions. I literally never knew which personality was coming through the door every day.
    I know he is remarried now and I can only hope that the good Lord is watching over her.
    The abuse I experienced with him was horrible and to this day I have no doubt that he is still abusive.
    Happily, I am now married to a really sweet man. We have been together for 13 years now and we have a beautiful 10 year old son. We are so close. …..And NO, he is NOT a Police Officer!

  • LadyDonnalands

    I believe every word of this article!