Johnson, Robert Roy, Law & Order
The nature of police work, with its inherent danger, requires officers to trust each other with their lives. Consequently, police officers, especially partners, form intense bonds. Most department relationships are extremely close and remain simply friendly, but a few-not surprisinglylead to romantic entanglements. These workplace romances raise issues for police managers.
As is done in some private sector workplaces, chiefs could simply implement written policy prohibiting workplace romance. Realistically, however, love will not be denied. As a police manager, if you occasionally find it difficult to achieve blanket compliance on something as minor as a uniform regulation, how successful might you be in quashing passion?
First and foremost, as with all personnel issues, it is essential that supervisors have personal relationships with their officers that are based on mutual respect and trust. When the lines of communication are open, it is much more likely the supervisors will have the information necessary to address developing situations.
On occasion, a situation may arise involving officers, one or both of whom are married to or seriously involved with other people. Whether there actually is romance, or merely ungrounded suspicion, the police manager should be prepared for an officer's significant other to request a meeting. The supervisor cannot take this lightly.
Affairs are painful experiences for those betrayed. They often lead to the breakup of marriages and families. Emotions run high, sometimes leading to violence and tragedy. It is the wise captain who is poised to address the concerns of the troubled mate. There are no easy answers. Each circumstance will dictate the appropriate action. But the police manager should be prepared to offer resources, such as counseling or professional intervention.
Where there is romance, one or both of the involved parties may become jealous of interactions the other may have with fellow officers. Jealousy in a relationship takes on an ominous dimension in a workplace where the employees are armed. As law enforcement managers know, it is essential that all of the officers on the watch operate as a team. These officers need to respect each other professionally and personally.
Jealousy is a complex emotion that often leads to overreactions and could compromise the integrity of the cohesive squad the captain has meticulously crafted. What normally would be considered as friendly banter or congenial interactions among department officers can be misconstrued by a jealous lover. …