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Portrait in Blue: A Demographic and Behavioral Profile of Police Sexual Harassers

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 18 Issue: 1/2 Dated: 2006 Pages: 79-106
Sue Carter Collins
Date Published
28 pages
This study presented a demographic and behavioral profile of male police officers in Florida who were found guilty of sexual harassment by their law enforcement employers.
Results of this study determined that the police sexual harasser is typically a White male; approximately 41-years-old; educated with an associate or bachelor’s degree; likely to be a front line officer or a first line supervisor; has been a certified law enforcement officer for approximately 14 years; has been with the same department for 11.5 years; and although generally charged with misconduct in a single case, likely to be accused of committing multiple acts of sexual harassment against multiple victims, both sworn and civilian, over an extended period ranging from several weeks to several years. The harassers’ actions included: comments about the women’s personal appearance, sexual teasing, crude jokes of a sexual nature, requests for dates, invitations to engage in various sex acts, and attempted rape. Some women were retaliated against for reporting the offenders’ behavior. Police sexual harassers appeared to fit three types: men who are sexually exploitative, men who misperceive women’s’ sexual attractiveness to them, and men who are sexual misogynists. Additional research on male police sexual harassers might facilitate police managers’ ability to effectively understand and combat the problems of sexual harassment. Data were collected from 33 cases of male police officers in Florida who were disciplined by their law enforcement employers for committing sexual harassment against their female colleagues. The harassers came from 14 State, county, and local law enforcement agencies of varying size. The most frequently occurring behaviors were gender harassment and unwanted sexual attention. Tables, notes, references