Earlier this year, we got word that the police department's approach to domestic violence was basically, "La la la, we can't hear you" — even in cases where "you" were other police officers trying to draw attention to the problem.
Now, thanks to The Tennessean, we learn that a police officer can grope you, you can complain, his commanding officer can say, "Hey, I need help with this serious matter," and that officer will just lose a couple of vacation days until it becomes clear he may be a predator.
Great. I feel safer already.
Listen, a grown man who puts you in his car and drives you to a secluded location to sexually assault you is not making a terrible mistake or having some terrible lapse in judgment. He is, in fact, acting out his modus operandi. That's his crime signature.
If you are a police officer and you encounter a man who puts a woman in his car, drives her to a secluded location, and sexually assaults her, you should expect and perhaps look for other women he has put in or tried to put in his car in order to drive them to a secluded location and sexually assault them, even if he is another cop.
And if the allegations are true, former Officer Jeffrey Poole is lucky, frankly, that in two cases he's only being charged with patronizing a prostitute and attempting to patronize a prostitute. How much consent to sex can a woman actually give a police officer if he has hanging over her head that if she doesn't do it, he can arrest her for prostitution?
But even if those alleged incidents are not being treated as rape, we, as the public, shouldn't fail to see them as the kind of coercive acts that would signal an M.O., not a bad day on the job.