Just as someone can omit employment incidents during a job interview to gain employment elsewhere, the same can happen with troubled cops who move on to other departments. But the issue goes way beyond that and can include some forms of collusion with those in control of hiring. Apparently, it’s such a widely known occurrence, that those cops are referred to within the profession as “gypsy cops.”
But how can this continue to happen when a questionable officer’s previous indiscretions were widely published and could be found in a simple online search? For instance, the officer I wrote about who bragged “Awesome” after unnecessarily shooting a pet dog to death had been previously let go for killing someone and giving false testimony. He has now killed at least one person and two dogs, but is still gainfully employed and defended by the new department that hired him.
This news segment about officers in Jonestown, Texas, demonstrates the number of reasons “gypsy cops” are able to move on to other departments.
From KVUE News:
Records show nearly half of the seven-member Jonestown police department had resigned amid controversy or been fired from other departments before getting hired in Jonestown.
The state relies on a form called the F-5 to track officers and why they leave a department. Those documents generally aren’t available to the public — and are typically only shared among departments.
But the investigation found that nothing prevents a police chief from giving an officer an honorable discharge on the form, even if the officer may have behaved dishonorably. Police chiefs sometimes do that to make a clean break from a troublesome officer.
There was also a suggestion that police chiefs aren’t thoroughly checking into a potential officer’s background – or that they are willfully ignoring a checkered past.
Police consultant Bruce Mills commented:
In some situations, I think maybe they were having a hard time recruiting officers, maybe they were trying to meet diversity goals in a department or jurisdiction and they settle. But when they end up settling, they consistently pay for it.
So you can see that, for a few reasons, officers are shuffled on down the road – ready to start some “firing” of their own at a new department. There doesn’t seem to be anything in place that would keep an unacceptable officer from returning to duty. How many other types of employees could boast of that? Here’s one more reason fired officers can easily find work at other departments: “Bros Before Non-LEOS.”
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