Human Interpersonal Reactions and Traumatic Events

Behavior of Opposite-Gender Police Partners and Its Effects on the Police Culture

Police work entails crime fighting and the service and order maintenance task. The nature of this work involves a lot of discretionary decision-making authority, potential for violence, and even application of a unique set of attitudes and behavior.  The presence of danger and potential violence leads to the patrol unit developing a sense of care towards their partner. The relationship between partners requires high levels of trust and cooperation. There have been raised concerns on men partnering with women in the patrol units. The occupation culture tends to bring out these relations. The first aspect is that in a physical confrontation, where the man is likely to be at a disadvantage. Many men assert that they patrol in a more cautious way when with a female partner who is, according to them, less effective (Martin n.d). Another aspect of the patrol culture is the uncommitted time. This represents the period when an officer is not responding to a call or not on active investigative work. This makes over 50% of the officers’ time. The officers, during this time, have unsupervised discretion. Where an opposite-gender patrol team is more than just work partners, this time may tend to be misused for personal gain rather than utilize it to improve crime prevention which would, in turn, reduce the number of calls and victimization (Dermody, 2013).

Dangers Arising From an Intimate Relationship between Partners on Patrol

Police officers on patrol are supposed to maintain high trust levels with each other. Their work requires them to cooperate and maintain high levels of teamwork. They protect and cover each other’s backs. This relationship is worsened where the opposite gender officers have an intimate relationship. This situation affects the officer’s emotional stability and their ability to make a rational judgment. It clogs their mind and any small danger to the partner will be magnified and, in most cases, lead to overreacting. These officers would likely not be committed to using their uncommitted time for carrying out random or directed preventive patrol, community policing, and problem-solving. Personal issues are likely to be introduced in the line of daily operations thereby reducing their effectiveness on their assigned duties.

How the Dangers Would Act As Triggers of Stress

The danger of distorting emotional stability triggers the possibility of making of irrational decisions. There will be tendencies to be over-protective especially by the male officer who will want to keep off any perceived danger off their intimate’s partner line. Making decisions while high on emotions will lead to erroneous judgment that may expose the officer to suits and disciplinary action. By being intimately attached, an officer will be over-reactive in any instance where the partner is in danger on any magnitude, even one that they can handle. This is likely to trigger irrationality and even contribute to an increase in police shootings. Officers in an intimate relationship might be engaged in these intimate activities during their uncommitted time. When a call to them occurs and disrupts them, this will act as a trigger for stress as they will not be in their sober mind. The patrol officers are likely to be stressed by their life experiences such as a partner getting hurt or dying. The level of stress from these experiences becomes escalated if the injured or deceased officer is an intimate partner.

Policy Measures

Code of Ethics and Officer Discipline

The code of ethics exists besides the formalized set of rules and regulations provided in the academy. A code of ethics represents a conceptual statement of the expected goals of the agency and the officers’ conduct (Dwyer, 2008). The code of ethics should be printed and displayed on the walls in the department. The officers should also be issued with a copy so as to serve as documentation of notice being given to the officer. This is important in strengthening the department’s commitment to its values on improving the productivity of the patrols.

Policies for Uncommitted Time

The uncommitted time during which the officers are on shift but not responding to a call or in an active investigative work provide a lot in an unsupervised time where officers have the power to use to their discretion. The policy with help harness the uncommitted time and focus the concentration on high crime and disorder. This will require following the Koper Curve Deployment Principle. According to this principle, the officers do not need to stay fixed in a hot spot for long periods but rather that a period of 12-15 minutes in a hot zone maximized the deterrent effect. The officer will also be required to not just drive through the hot zone but rather engage in short walks and interact with the community members. This will help officer focus on improving the productivity of their patrol.

Relationships between Officers

A healthy relationship between officers is necessary for providing successful, productive, and fulfilling operations. Patrol partners need to avoid conflict between their professional roles and their personal relationships. An off-duty social relationship should be maintained in a manner that does not conflict with duty related responsibilities. In this connection, while the off-duty personal relational relationships are not classifiable as a conflict of interest, they provide serious concern for the department where the effects interfere with duty performance. In this connection, the department reserves the right to act in a way to ensure the attainment of departmental goals. The intimate relationship between patrol partners should be reported to the supervisor. Relocation will take place where such relationships occur. 

Potential stressors in case an intimate affair become known to the public

The public may lose their trust in the commitment of the patrol officer in helping reduce public disorder. There may be attempts to hurt one of the parties in retaliatory acts by the criminals apprehended by the team. Where the intimacy is an act of infidelity, the officer may be blackmailed by criminals seeking an easy way out. It creates a negative image for the whole department which may severe the relationship between the community and the police which is highly relevant in controlling crime rates.


Dermody, J. (2013). Chaning the Culture of Uncommitted Patrol Time: A Work in Progress. Translational Criminology.

Dwyer, T. (2008). Code of Ethics and Officer Discipline. Retrieved from

Martin, S. (n.d.). Doing Gender, Doing Police Work: An Examination of the Barriers to the Integration of Women Officers. Australian Insitute of Criminology Conference.

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