National News

Caddo Commission wants malfeasance law to include detainees

Posted April 30, 2018 9:12 a.m. EDT

— The current Louisiana Law on Malfeasance in Office prohibits sexual conduct between law enforcement officers and inmates or those supervised by the division of probation and parole.

Nationally there have been recent reports of people being detained for investigation, but then forced into sexual conduct with law enforcement officers. "99.99% of police officers in the country are good, but you know you have that .01% sometimes that may reach out there and do something like that," said Cpl. Angie Willhite of the Shreveport Police Department.

A 2012 Sage Journal study found that in 41% of cases, officers charged with sexual violence had been previously accused of sexual misconduct. They had between two and 21 prior allegations and averaged four victims each over a 3-year span of offending. Even when officers are terminated or allowed to resign, many are able to simply move on to another department; researchers dub it the "officer shuffle."

In order to prevent these types of incidents, the Caddo Commission believes the current law should be extended to cover all people in custody of law enforcement officers.

"If they stop someone, it may cause you to have a favor or something asked in order for release," said Caddo Commissioner Stormy Gage Watts. "Over 35 states do not have laws in place that protect detainees."

The Caddo Parish Commission has forwarded the resolution to the House Speaker and President of the Senate.