Police in Anchorage Alaska have a tumultuous public history of misconduct regarding sexual harassment in their community, with a focus on sex industry workers. Probation officers have taken advantage of this unstable group of women through active police work involving field interviews, sting activities that led officers to use their authoritative power to have sexual relations and not pay for them; leading to Alaska government officials attempting to have legislation written supporting rules for police officers to not engage in sexual activities during their professional scope of work or for entrapment purposes.
Sexual Harassment/misconduct is a form of police brutality with reported complaints that are second to excessive force complaints. This form of brutality stems from unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by law enforcement in the course of their job. If a police officer has engaged in sexual harassment or abuse, under the guise of their professional employment, it is a form of police brutality where civil and criminal legal action may be brought against that officer. Law enforcement officers are given broad power through the badge, to protect people and enforce the law but those who are sexual predators tend to target the general public, or in Anchorage, the sex workers, through acts of police brutality. Cases of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct by police officers result from officers who are found to have conducted sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual acts and/or other types of sex-related violations on an adult or minor child and covers consensual sexual activity that occurs when an officer is on-duty, sexual assault and child molestation.
Senate Bill 112 on peace officer activity regarding sexual relations.
The language in Senate Bill 112 had its hearing canceled and covered language surrounding “an act relating to sexual assault by a peace officer against a person who is a victim, witness, or perpetrator of a crime.” Many times the police had been charged with sexual harassment of sex workers and traffickers defined by Alaska Statute 11.66.100 regarding prostitution is when a person commits the crime of prostitution if the person(1) engages in or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct in return for a fee; or (2) offers a fee in return for sexual conduct, and 11.66.110 regarding sex trafficking in the first degree is when a person commits the crime of sex trafficking in the first degree if the person (1) induces or causes another person to engage in prostitution through the use of force; 2) as other than a patron of a prostitute, induces or causes another person who is under 20 years of age to engage in prostitution; or (3) induces or causes a person in that person’s legal custody to engage in prostitution.
Anchorage Police Department policy.
The Anchorage Police Department has policy dictating that no sworn police officer is to have sex with a prostitute for any reason; including sex-related case work. Sexual relations with a victim of a prostitution investigation is not within the professional scope of an Anchorage Police Officer and they could be charged with solicitation of a prostitute whereby the officer would lose their job. Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct by law enforcement employees is any behavior by an employee that takes advantage of the employee‘s position in law enforcement to misuse authority and power including:
- Sexual contact by force;
- Unwarranted physical contact with citizens (e.g. inappropriate or unnecessary searches or pat-downs);
- The use of any information gained while on duty or under the color of authority for personal use (e.g. using a phone number given to an officer during a traffic stop or on a call to ask someone on a date or engage in a personal conversation).
- Sexual behavior while on duty or in uniform (e.g. masturbation, viewing and/or distributing pornographic images, sexting, whether by personal or Department phone or computer);
- Voyeuristic actions that are sexually motivated (e.g. looking in windows of residences for sexually motivated reasons, traffic stops to better view occupants for non-professional reasons )
- Sexual harassment of colleagues or co-workers.
Formal complaint to department.
Make an online complaint at the Anchorage Police Department website, or visit the station and ask for a supervisor. All victims of sexual misconduct by police employees shall be treated with professionalism and dignity. Their allegations shall be taken seriously throughout the investigative process regardless of their background, criminal history, or perceived lack of credibility or questionable behavior. These victims, as with any who report this offense, must be protected from intimidation. Chapter 3 Anchorage Police Department Regulations and Procedures Manual Operational Procedures 1.03.000-1.03.005.
The following steps will occur after a complaint is made to the department.
- All reports of sexual misconduct will be forwarded to the Chief or his/her designee, who will determine if the report will be investigated by Internal Affairs or a supervisor.
- Criminal allegations will be investigated by the Detective Division.
- Employees who witness sexual misconduct shall immediately notify a supervisor. Should a supervisor be involved in the incident, the report shall be made to the next level in the chain of command.
- Supervisors and commanders made aware of sexual misconduct will immediately notify the chain of command and Internal Affairs.
- Sexual Misconduct of any nature is strictly prohibited and if proven may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
- Anyone in a supervisory capacity or position of authority shall not engage in any activity of a sexual nature with employees on a probationary status.
- Employees, under color of authority or representing the Department will not extort, encourage, offer, accept, or engage in sexual favors.
- Employees will not engage in any on-duty activity of a sexual nature.
- Employees will not engage in any activity of a sexual nature at or in a Department workplace or vehicle.
- Public displays of affection are strongly discouraged while in uniform and/or in a municipal vehicle.
Supervisors are in a unique position to detect warning signs and patterns that may indicate sexual misconduct by their subordinates. As such, they must act immediately to address the behavior in question.
Prevention and Training.
Ethical conduct training and discussion of the sexual misconduct policy and prohibited behavior is offered for all new officers; and updates and reviews of information are conducted with all officers on policy, procedure and discipline related to sexual misconduct.
Police brutality is an illegal and actionable offense to be remedied in the interest of negatively affected citizens of the community when misguided police officers overstep the professional boundaries of their positions as law enforcement officers. Sexual harassment is a form of police brutality along with excessive force; false arrest and wrongful imprisonment; wrongful search and seizure activity; racial and gender discrimination; and general abuse against civilians.
Seek legal counsel.
If you or someone you know has been victimized by an Anchorage Police Officer through sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, legal counsel is available for consultation to go over your legal options. Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through sexual harassment or misconduct.