Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Local media is reporting the arrest today of Phoenix police lieutenant Dalin Webb in Mesa for assaulting his 17-year-old son.  Webb was released after being charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.   Webb has four children and works as a school resource officer. Down and Drought has also learned that Webb is listed as a volunteer at the nonprofit organization Not My Kid.  According to reports, Webb got in a violent confrontation which led to Webb choking his son and shoving his wife.

Jennifer Thomas at AzFamily.com reports,
...Webb and his son were in an argument and the boy's mother went to the bedroom to check on the commotion. Webb reportedly shoved her out of the room and her leg buckled when he shut the door.

The son told police that he cursed at his father for shoving his mother and Webb pinned him down on the bed by his neck, restricting his airway with a stranglehold.

The victim's mother told police that she walked back in after the fight had begun and saw the boy on the bed with Webb's hand around his neck. She said her son's voice sounded restricted.
The Phoenix Police Department issued a statement confirming the arrest and  stating that it's Professional Standards Bureau is opening an investigation into the matter.

Not My Kid describes itself as "dedicated to serving the interests of youth and families".  Webb is listed on its website as serving as a parent and faculty educator.   Not My Kid offers a variety of programs for kids, including topics like bullying and "unhealthy relationships".  They list their values as:

Social Thinking: A sincere desire to consider how others perceive situations.

Resilience: Acknowledging the inevitability of change, accepting the “new” and adapting.

Hope/Faith: A capacity to believe in a purpose or meaning greater than oneself.

Self-Control: A capacity to behave in a positive self-directed manner.

Integrity: Recognizing and demonstrating the value of ethical behavior.
In this age in which parents fear violence in school (whether those fears are justified or not is another question), and police, increased policing and the militarization of school security are increasingly held up as solutions, it's worth taking a minute to consider the implications of arrests like this one.

After all, it is well-established that police engage in domestic violence and violence against loved ones at more than twice the average rate.   Indeed, the National Center for Women & Policing found that as many as 40 percent of law enforcement families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10 percent for the general population.

The CWP highlights the particular reasons why domestic violence committed by cops should be particularly concerning to everyone, but especially to parents whose children will be exposed to these abusers in schools.

Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, but victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer who is abusing them:
  • has a gun,
  • knows the location of battered women's shelters, and
  • knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim

Cops who do commit violence in their families often escape punishment altogether.  And Webb is hardly the first Valley or even Phoenix cop arrested for assaulting a spouse (see also here and here, for just two more recent examples).  Nor is he the first arrested for abusing a child.

Which raises what would be an obvious question if we were dealing with any violent group other than police: should cops be allowed near children and in schools?  Should they be held up as role models to kids on how to control violent impulses?

The violence and general abusiveness of police is well-documented, yet they almost always get a pass when they engage in violent behavior.  People seem to think that officers are able to turn these violent impulses off, reserving violence for circumstances that require it.  Yet the domestic abuse rates put the lie to that assumption.

If the objective is safer schools, it seems illogical to increase the presence of documented violent, abusive groups like the police.  The case of Detective Chris Wilson, who is alleged to have met his teenage targets through the course of his daily job duties in the "community relations" squad, ought to stand out here as a further warning.  And this goes for youth programs like Not My Kid, as well.  Getting the cops out of schools and out of youth programs would be a positive first step.

Not My Kid was contacted for comment but has not responded to our request..

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