Police Misconduct – Why do Police Departments Rehire Offenders?

When a police department fires an officer because of dishonesty, physical abuse, or sexual misconduct, you would think the ex-officer would have to find a new line of work…

But, a shocking number of fired police officers just show up at another department, where they are given another badge and another gun, and they often go on to commit more misconduct.

This might be a bit easier to understand if their new employers were unaware of their troubled past, but all too often law enforcement agencies across the country hire officers who they know have been canned by another department over allegations of misconduct.

Below I’ll talk about how Louisiana’s police agencies may be the worst offenders, but it is a problem nationwide including right here in South Carolina.

Maybe This Time Will Be Different …

A recent investigative report by The Washington Post focused on officers forced out of the New Orleans Police Department. The department has fired or forced out almost 250 officers during the past 10 years, and about 20 percent of those have found jobs with other departments, usually smaller agencies not far from the city. Some have been hired in other states.

Many of these officers have been fired again. And again.

A lot of these job-hunters made no attempt to hide the circumstances surrounding their firings. And the accusations against them were not always minor – they included investigations into the beatings of suspects, making false arrests, paying women for sex while on duty, abandoning their posts after Hurricane Katrina, child abuse, and misusing state funds.

One officer who was fired in New Orleans in 2007 for violating department procedures and putting his own child’s life in danger went on to be hired – and fired – from two other law enforcement jobs over the next three years. He now works as an officer for a Louisiana state law enforcement service.

So how does this happen? Louisiana police departments have the power to seek decertification of officers when they are fired. This would prevent them from getting another policing job in the state. But not one dismissed officer has been decertified in the state in the past 10 years. Police officials say the decertification process is just too much trouble.

Still, why do other departments hire them?

“You can’t keep punishing people for the same mistake,” says Ronald T. Doucette Sr., police chief at Louisiana’s Delgado Community College, who has hired five officers who were forced out of New Orleans – one of whom he later fired himself.

Fired Officers Get New Jobs In South Carolina

South Carolina police departments have their share of officers who have been fired or resigned while facing misconduct investigations.

For example, in Jasper and Beaufort counties, 21 current law-enforcement officers were forced out of previous policing jobs.

Again, some of the accusations were serious – one officer was fired after conducting an improper interrogation with a murder suspect, and another was dismissed after he was accused of intimidating and making sexual advances on a woman in his patrol car.

Shouldn’t police officers be held to a high standard?

Don’t police officers and departments across the country want to be trusted? Aren’t police relations with their communities strained to the breaking point? Departments blindly supporting, retaining, or rehiring officers who are abusive and who break the law is a large part of the problem.

Criminal Defense Lawyers in Columbia, SC

The Thompson Defense Firm has offices in Columbia and Myrtle Beach, SC., and we only accept criminal defense cases.

We will get your case dismissed, find an acceptable resolution, or try your case to a jury. Call at 843-444-6122 or fill out our online contact form if you have questions or to set up a free initial consultation.

One Response to “Police Misconduct – Why do Police Departments Rehire Offenders?

  • Good article. Keep up the good work. Articles like these are important!

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