Police and Ethics

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The Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department is a small police department in New Jersey, just west of the Hudson River. It has less than 3o officers who patrol an 11-mile stretch of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. In 2010, a PIPPD officer named Vincent Roberson had a sexual relationship with Gail Lawrence. The majority of their involvement was conducted while Officer Roberson was on duty. Over the next year, there would be complaints filed, allegations, and an ultimate forced resignation of Officer Roberson for unethical practices.

Gail Lawrence was a 46-year old Jewish woman, from Brooklyn, NY, who frequently drove on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. So much that she managed to accumulate more than $5,000 in fines from various traffic violations. “Between 2007 and 2012, she was stopped at least seven times and issued a total of 40 tickets. In addition, PIPPD took her involuntarily to psychiatric hospitals about six times during the period.” (Raymand, 2012) The PIPPD had its share of controversy. There have been allegations that the department targets Orthodox Jewish drivers” (Raymand, 2012) Lawrence thought about filing a lawsuit for racial profiling but never followed through. During one of her many traffic stops, she met Officer Vincent Roberson. They carried on an eight-month relationship that welcomed many sexual encounters while Officer Roberson was on duty.

Throughout their relationship, Lawrence says Roberson “tried to act like her therapist” and wanted to help her instead of taking her to a psychiatric ward. This was an unethical act of coercion. “It’s unethical for a police officer to develop a personal relationship with someone who is constantly getting in trouble, but through 2010, they spoke on the phone hundreds of times, often for hours a day, and exchanged a dizzying number of text messages.” (Raymand, 2012) They eventually had many sexual encounters in hotels, at his home and in his patrol car. “When he...
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