True stories from the front
A young officer works in a north side district. He had 5 years in the district, as well as 5 years married with no kids. He knew his beat pretty well and went to the same coffee shop every day. He was at this coffee shop with his partner, when a beautiful young woman struck up a conversation about local crime.
"I live about a mile from here. How's the neighborhood?" she asked. He told her what he knew about recent burglaries, car thefts and reassured her that the neighborhood was safe. The dispatcher banged them with a job and he said he had to go.
"It was nice to meet you," she said extending a slender hand."My name is _________. Maybe we can have a cup of coffee sometime?" He met the woman for coffee, and after a few months of meetings over coffee, he decided to take the next step. He told his wife one night that he was on a "late arrest." He went to the woman's apartment and started an affair.
Over the course of a year the "late arrests" became more frequent and the officer's wife, an attractive woman in charge of a company IT department downtown, started to become suspicious. Being more tech-savvy than her cheating spouse, she had gotten him a Blackberry phone and secretly downloaded a "tracking" application on it. She had a matching phone and the next time he had a "late arrest" she pinged his phone and found him at his girlfriend's apartment.
The confrontation was ugly, and they divorced soon after. But not after criminal allegations were made (by her) and a CR# pulled for good measure.
A good friend of mine while on surveillance of a drug-dealer, followed him to a far north suburban motel. The CI informed the team that the deal was going to go down in the motel's parking lot. My friend slowly rolled through the parking lot and was stunned by the number of cars that displayed an FOP medallion on the bumper. The motel was full of coppers who were there spending time with their girlfriends.
A police officer goes to a domestic disturbance, and gets hit on by the woman who called 911. The officer, married with 3 kids, meets the woman at her house later that night. After they have sex, he gets up to go to the bathroom, and hears a loud report from the bedroom. He comes out to see what happened and finds the woman dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. She used his duty weapon to kill herself. It turns out she was mentally unstable and taking 6 different medications.
If you ask the average cop, "Hey - what's been the scariest experience during your police career?" They will answer "My first marriage!" The impact of infidelity can destroy a family, dissolve a marriage, and that, on many levels, the children will suffer greatly from a divorce.
But it's hard, sometimes extremely hard, for a police officer to maintain a stable marriage. The stats are imprecise, but police divorce is approximately 70-75%. The median range of divorce in the US is about 50%.
Psychology Today ran a great article on this a few months ago entitled Sex Addict? or Kid in a Candy Store? (full article here.
The factors that attribute to infidelity are legion; the stress, the schedules, courts, lawsuits, and the police culture. It's easy to find women willing to "hook up." Police are mobile, we interact with many people during the course of a tour of duty, we (for the most part) stay in shape, we are in a position of authority, we give orders and arrest people. We wear so many hats as a police officer that we adopt the temporary roles of counselors, advisers, psychologists, priests, and lawyers just to be effective in our jobs and to maintain our safety in volatile, and dangerous, situations.
And the fact is, there are many women who love police officers. Just as there are women who love football players or other pro-athletes, the police have their own set of "groupies.' Tiger Woods is a good example of how out of control this situation can get.
They're affectionately called by any number of names - "Badge Bunnies", "Star Chasers" or, my favorite...Side-broads. The Bunnies love a man in uniform, they love and admire our authority, and they want to hear "the stories." They like spending time with us, and respect what we do. The idea of police-groupies has fascinated me for years and I've been toying with the idea of creating an "application" of sorts for those women who would like to be a Badge Bunny. Of course this is satirical and is written from the point of view of the police officer.
I don't have a quick answer as to why police officers cheat, but I would say that it takes a certain personality to want to be the police. There is a streak of immaturity that flows within our ranks. I tell people all the time that the department is like being in high school except we carry guns. Additionally, we like being objects of authority, and if you have a drop-dead-gorgeous woman fawning over you because you have a badge in your pocket and a pistol on your ankle; it is flattering and is highly appealing to our male egos. And if she wants to be intimate - how many of us, especially after being desensitized by a couple beers, can say NO?
The great Sam Kinison had some valuable insight into this phenomenon:
(start at 2:30 in the clip.)
He's right, and his insight was brilliant.
I'm not a purist, or expect people not to give in to their humanity, but I would counsel my fellow officers to think before you decide to have a "side piece." Many things are at stake: your marriage, your honor, the health and safety of your children - and ultimately your soul. In the final analysis you have to do the "balance test" and see how you would feel if you caught your wife doing exactly what you're doing. What would your children's faces look like telling them "Mommy and Daddy are getting divorced. Daddy is moving out and I'm not sure when you'll see him again."
But then again, who doesn't yearn for the thrill of the dark chase? The Cthonic Dionysian ritual that has been a part of our civilation for 10,000 years?
Robert Smith sums it up in the song Disintegration -
The lyrics are dark, shadowy and hint at the emotions that are swirling in the turgid mass of a Man's soul. Couldn't he have written this song with every married man in mind?
I miss the kiss of treachery,
the shameless kiss of vanity,
the soft and the black and the velvety,
up tight against the side of me,
and mouth and eyes and heart all bleed,
and run in thickening streams of greed,
as bit by bit it starts the need,
to just let go my parting piece."
How many of us have left our loved ones with "photographs, pictures of trickery, stains on the carpet, stains on the scenery, songs about happiness murmured in dreams, when we knew how the ending would be?"
The darkness that pulls at us comes from many directions. The affection and admiration of a woman can be difficult to overcome. Ulysses had to stop his ears with wax to avoid being entranced by The Sirens' call. Proverbs 5:3-6 says,"For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death her steps lead straight to the grave."
If you've been tempted but didn't follow through, leave a comment. If you've been down this road, let us know what you think in the comments section.
The badge bunnies aren't going anywhere, and will always be a constant in Law Enforcement. How you deal with them is up to you. And from the Psychology Today article, I'm more inclined to say we, as a group, are more along the lines of the author's dilemma regarding his patient "Juan" ...a powerful, high-testosterone male, with an identity-issue, who was put in a role where a sexual buffet was laid out in front of him, and he didn't have any reason or internal resources to use to resist diving in?