Posted: March 30th, 2022

Sexual Harassment by the Police Department

Revised Sexual Harassment Policy for the Police Department


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The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and procedures for this Police Department regarding prevention of sexual harassment and processes for filing a complaint and investigations regarding alleged sexual harassment.




This Police Department seeks to create a safe, suitable, and comfortable working environment for all its employees. The Department has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment and prohibits any form of sexual harassment among its workers. Based on the zero-tolerance policy, violation of the policy would result in disciplinary actions including prosecution and termination from employment. Employees are free to make complaints of any sexual harassment incidents without fear of victimization while their confidentiality will be maintained as much as possible. The Department shall not retaliate against its employees for filing such complaints or for cooperation during investigations of sexual harassment complaints.


Guidelines and Considerations


The Police Department defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advances, sexual favor requests or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Based on recent guidelines handed down by Supreme Court decisions, the two types of sexual harassment governed by this policy are quid pro quo and hostile work environment (Bachman, 2017). Quid pro quo harassment occurs when the perpetrator uses such actions as the premise for employment decisions. On the other hand, hostile work environment occurs when the sexual harassment incident is geared towards interfering with the victim’s work performance or creating a difficult work environment for him/her.


Making and Investigating Complaints


In light of recent guidelines handed down by Supreme Court decisions, quid pro quo and hostile work environment will not be treated as wholly distinct claims by this Department. The Department has established administrative guidelines and remedies for dealing with sexual harassment. When making a complaint, the victimized employee should contact his/her department head if he/she has been the subject of sexual harassment. If the complaint concerns the department head, the employee should file his complaint to any other department head. Once the complaint is received, the department head should undertake necessary and suitable steps to investigate it. If the complaint is not addressed in a satisfactory manner, the employee should contact the Director of Administration and Management. However, if this Police Department does not address the complaint in a satisfactory manner after all administrative procedures are exhausted, the employee if free to file his/her complaint directly to the State’s Attorney.


With regards to investigations, any department head or supervisor is required to notify the Director of Administration and Management upon receipt of a sexual harassment complaint. The Director of Administration and Management will then conduct or assign someone the responsibility to investigate the complaint. Upon conclusion of investigations, the perpetrator will be subject to sanctions that include but not limited to prosecution in a court of law and termination from employment.


Training Program for Employees


An important aspect towards implementing the revised sexual harassment policy is to implement a training program for all employees. The training program will be conducted by experts or experienced trainers with competency in prevention of sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination. During the training, the expert or trainers will provide employees with practical explanations of laws relating to sexual harassment, its prevention, and consequences. They will then communicate to all employees regarding the directives in the Department’s sexual harassment policy. The employees’ supervisors and those in management positions will be trained on their role in preventing sexual harassment and investigating complaints. All employees will be provided with a copy of the revised sexual harassment policy.


While establishing sexual harassment policy and conducting training is a crucial step towards preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, there are challenges relating to this process. One of these challenges is the need to be aware of the various sexual harassment laws and update the policy based on changes in the law (O’Gara & Jill, n.d.). Secondly, the policy-making process and training implementation is time-consuming because of numerous complexities. Third, the process is expensive because of the need to involve several stakeholders such as legal experts and experienced trainers.


Comparison of Two Sexual Harassment Policies


The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Orlando Police Department have some similarities and differences with regards to their policies on sexual harassment. One of the similarities between these two established sexual harassment policies is their definition of sexual harassment. They both define sexual harassment as unwelcome advances, sexual favors’ requests, and other conduct based on a sexual nature (McCoy, 2004; Swearingen, n.d.). Secondly, both policies are strict with regards to prevention of sexual harassment by police officers when conducting their duties. These policies are based on a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment, which is crucial for prevention of sexual harassment.


However, there are some differences in these policies through they both seek to prevent sexual harassment. First, sexual harassment policy by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is included as part of the ethical standards of conduct by law enforcement officers while the Orlando Police Department has established a distinct policy to address sexual harassment. Secondly, the Orlando Police Department’s sexual harassment policy contains various sections including definition, prohibited activity, employee responsibilities, complaint procedures, retaliation, and training. On the contrary, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s sexual harassment policy only provides principles that guide the conduct of police officers with regards to sexual harassment. Third, the sexual harassment policy by Orlando Police Department provides a comprehensive approach for dealing with sexual harassment policy within the police department. On the other hand, the sexual harassment policy by Florida Department of Law Enforcement focus on the actions of police officers within the department and while on duty. Unlike OPD’s sexual harassment policy, this policy also focuses on preventing sexual harassment of citizens by police officers.


Sexual Harassment of Women in Law Enforcement


The field of law enforcement has experienced a significant rise in the number of female employees over the past few decades. However, women in law enforcement experience unique workplace stressors that range from language harassment to sex discrimination. As shown in the findings of a recent national survey, sexual harassment is a common experience among women in law enforcement (Lonsway, Paynich & Hall, 2013). This is primarily because women face challenges relating to peer acceptance, which is regarded as one of the major issues within police organizations. Since the law enforcement field has been traditionally dominated by men, women face challenges relating to peer acceptance, which is a major contributing factor to sexual harassment. However, most female victims do not file formal complaints of their sexual harassment experiences because of retaliation, which is common and severe.


Issues faced by Transgenders


As noted earlier in this report, women are a primary group that face discrimination when it comes to law enforcement. This is true when they work for the department and it is also true when they are arrested, detained and jailed by the same. However, they are not the only group that is discriminated against and otherwise subject to maltreatment. Other minority groups face negative treatment as well and these would include racial minorities like Hispanics and African-Americans and sexuality-related minorities like gays and transgenders. The last of htose in particular is a sensitive one to deal with because they are in such a minority and they are often treated with such disdain and discrimination by the general public. Because this is the case and because such behavior is simply unacceptable when it comes to law enforcement and the discharging of their duties, it would be wise to consult the scholarly research and find out the issues that transgenders face when it comes to being contacted, detained, and arrested by law enforcement. First, even if gender reassignment is not in process or completed, there are still some general guidelines that would still remain true. However, in the theoretical scenario being presented for this assignment, the person in question is actually undergoing reassignment surgery and has been arrested. Thus, they must be classified and handled in the proper way.


One study of transgenders and jail occurred in the Los Angeles County jail system and there are two models that they quickly found out when it comes to transgenders, those being accidental humanity and hypermasculinity. Because the transgender community is so unique in their sexuality status and are considered vulnerable, the jail actually has a unit that is comprised only of gay men and transgendered women. The unit is free from any heterosexual men or women and it is also free of any gang members and other such inmates. Because of this unique classification, these particular units are free from the threat of riots in most cases. This is not to suggest that these transgender and gay people never fight or have confrontations. However, the mass fighting and violence seen with other sorts of inmates is mostly absent when it comes to these people. Beyond that, intermixing other inmates and transgender or gay inmates tends to create problems and challenges (Dolovich, 2012).


One issue that does not involve violence but that is a concern is sex. Even when all of the people in a unit are men and even if they are supposedly all heterosexual, there will be situations where men are having sex with men, known in sociological/jail parlance as MSM. However, having male-to-female transgenders in the throng tends to have its own issues. Regardless of who is housed with who and who is having sex with whom, there needs to be attention to the use of condoms and other protection so that the spread of HIV and AIDS in these units, not to mention other sexually transmitted diseases, does not become a problem. It has been found more than once that the distribution and availability of condoms greatly contributes to the use of the same and thus helps prevent a great amount of spreading of sexually transmitted diseases among the inmates. Beyond that, unless the inmates in question are individually sequestered and locked down on their own, the odds of preventing the sexuality activity from happening is extremely unlikely. The only inmates that are typically housed in solo fashion are the most violent and gang-related. In many to most cases, this would not involve gay and transgendered inmates as they are typically housed for much lesser crimes (Harawa, Sweat, George & Sylla, 2010).


When it comes to the proper response and handling of such inmates, the courts also have a role to play. One consideration is that the courts and jails are still very much a “binary” system. Meaning, there is attention paid to the biological sex at birth for the inmates, whether it be male or female, but not what has happened since in the mind and with the body of the inmate in question. This would obviously include whether the inmate to be lives as a man or a woman in contrast with the sex with their birth and/or whether they have at all attempted to get gender reassignment surgery. Because of the system being still very much binary, there is the question as to whether transgender inmates should be housed based on the sex of their birth or whether they should be housed with the current perceived gender, whatever that may be. As mentioned before, there are some jail units that have special segregation areas for LGBT inmates. However, this is certainly not true with all jails and prisons. However, it would seem that the trend is starting to turn, at least when it comes to some LGBT situations. An obvious example of the wheels starting to be in motion would be the Obergefell v. Hodges decision that mandated the legalization of gay marriage. While not truly related to the court situation, it is related to the rights of LGBT people and this would obviously tend to have effects on future cases that are directly or indirectly related to the housing and handling of transgender inmates. Another case that is much more related to transgenders and how they are treated in jail or prison was the case of Ashley Diamond. For a long time, she was tormented and bullied in prison, inclusive of being sexually assaulted. She was able to build up the courage to report the violence against her and this in turn led her to being housed on her own. However, she was apparently not well-supervised and tracked after that. She committed suicide in her cell as a result of becoming traumatized and unwilling to live life anymore (Matricardi, 2016).


To truly address the situation of what could and should happen when a transgender person is incarcerated in jail or prison, it really needs to be discussed and understood what needs they have and how to meet those needs. There are a number of dimensions and details that need to be considered including classification, victimization, medical issues and health issues. Some of the major needs of those inmates that would need to be addressed include proper inmate classification, access to proper and full counseling services, the initiation or continuation of hormone therapy and any needed sexual reassignment surgery. Some states have installed some or all of the items and requirements noted above. However, there are other states and their associated county and local jurisdictions that are clearly lagging behind in one or more ways. Even when there are jails or prisons that want to do the right thing, they lack the education and assurance of what the right thing happens to be and there is a dearth of guidance from knowledgably people when it comes to fulfilling the same (Routh et al, 2017).


Beyond the lack of knowledge covered above, there active misconceptions and simply wrong ideas about transgenders within the police and corrections systems. Beyond that, it is something that is present as an issue in many countries. This includes the United States, Australia and Canada, just to name a few. One of the major issues is the common practice of conflating gender and sex. Many feel that they are synonymous and the same thing. However, LGBT advocates and many other experts vehemently assert that this is not the case. Indeed, there are people that are born biologically male and that have the common male “parts” including a penis. However, that person can still feel in their mind that they are actually female and this does happen to be the case with transgenders. Transgenders make up a very small part of the population in whatever country they inhabit but their condition is a very real thing. Thus, it is important to iron out and correct any misconceptions and wrong-minded ideas that exist. One of the main misconceptions is that gender identity and transgender thinking are entirely different. Indeed, there are girls and women that fit the “tomboy” mold but still feel that they are women. They are just not aligning with the common norms for their sex of birth. However, there are other people that are born biologically female that actually feel as if they are really men in terms of their mind and how they live their lives. These are the women that feel that they need to be converted to transgender status as a man so that they can be comfortable in their own skin. Simply dressing like a man and carrying one’s self like a man is not enough for these people to feel as if they are normal and aligned with how they truly feel they are (Mann, 2006).


One example of all of this reality in real life came to a head in the test case of Mathew. Mathew was a person who was born as a boy but he felt he was a woman. This all because a big issue when Mathew went to the restroom at a fast food restaurant. Rather than going into the men’s restroom, he went into the women’s restroom. Someone saw this and called the police because they felt that Mathew was in the wrong restroom. Due to Mathew’s challenging life, she had already resorted to prostitution and other illegal activities. Of course, this did not sit well with the police then they came to arrest him. She was charged with solicitation, prostitution, indecent exposure an failure to produce identification upon request. Why this is relevant to this report comes when Mathew was taken to the jail. The police officers and the other inmates joined together in lobbing crude and disgusting jokes at Mathew because he was dressed in women’s clothes, had long hair, long fingernails, had breasts due to taking hormones and so on. Mathew’s self-reporting that he was a woman despite what his driver’s license said led to incendiary and crude treatment from the police officers that were handling his booking (Mann, 2006).




The point to be made here is that transgender people and other people within the LGBT realm deserve to be treated with dignity and respect just like anyone else. Police, corrections and court personnel would be wise on how to properly handle interactions with transgender inmates inclusive of referring to them by their preferred pronoun, not making incendiary comments about the lifestyle or carrying of the person and not allowing the inmates to attack or assail the person as they are booked and otherwise moved through the system.




Bachman, E. (2017, March 23). What is “Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment? Retrieved August


2, 2017, from




Dolovich, S. (2012). Two models of the prison: Accidental humanity & hypermasculinity in the


L.A. County Jail. Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology, 102(4), 965-1117.


Harawa, N. T., Sweat, J., George, S., & Sylla, M. (2010). Sex and Condom Use in a Large Jail


Unit for Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) and Male-to-Female


Transgenders. Journal Of Health Care For The Poor And Underserved, (3), 1071.


Lonsway, K.A., Paynich, R. & Hall, J.N. (2013, February 15). Sexual Harassment in Law


Enforcement: Incidence, Impact, and Perception. Police Quarterly, 16(2), 177-210.


Matricardi, D. (2016). Binary Imprisonment: Transgender Inmates Ensnared within the System


and Confined to Assigned Gender +. Mercer Law Review, 67707.


Mann, R. (2006). The Treatment of Transgender Prisoners, Not Just an American Problem – A


Comparative Analysis of American, Australian, and Canadian Prison Policies Concerning


the Treatment of Transgender Prisoners and a ‘Universal’ Recommendation To Improve


Treatment. Law & Sexuality: A Review Of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender


Legal Issues, 1591.


McCoy, M.J. (2004, June 15). Orlando, Florida Police Department Policy and Procedure


1608.0. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from


O’Gara, W.E. & Jill, M. (n.d.). Implementing a Sexual Harassment Training Policy and


Program. Retrieved August 2, 2017, from




Routh, D., Abess, G., Makin, D., Stohr, M. K., Hemmens, C., & Yoo, J. (2017). Transgender


Inmates in Prisons. International Journal Of Offender Therapy & Comparative


Criminology, 61(6), 645. doi:10.1177/0306624X15603745


Swearingen, R. (n.d.). Law Enforcement Officer Ethical Standards of Conduct. Retrieved from


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