continued What should be done?
"I've long thought that the city could do a hell of a lot better with making some sort of day-care arrangements than what we do. We're a big agency [SDPD], and when family is definitely the biggest stresser we have -- because it is so complicated when you work the hours and shifts that we do -- surely there's something that we can do to help people out. I don't think we've ever made any try at that. I don't know what the issues are, whether it's liability insurance, but even my husband's business -- a nursery business -- had day-care for their employees, for God's sake."
The other thing, Archambault says, is insurance. "The city doesn't pick up dependent insurance. It's expensive! And yet 20 years ago when I was working for the community college district, all my dependents were covered. Eye care and medical. And we don't get dependent care. That amazes me."
Why haven't essential issues like day-care and insurance been pushed by present management and organizations like the Police Officers' Association? Archambault guesses the people facing these problems are mostly young cops with families, the cops with the least horsepower.
"Chief Sanders is always talking about family. But I don't think that [SDPD] does a lot to support that."
"[Day-care] is certainly something that we would take a look at," responds Chief Sanders, "if officers wanted to surface that as an idea. But being spread out all over the city, it's sometimes difficult to get enough officers in one place who have the same needs to be able to create a program for that." Sanders adds that child-care and dependents' insurance is already available to
"any city employee" who wants to designate money from their "cafeteria-style benefits," money given to buy a health plan, life insurance, or other options.
Female cops face particular problems, says Archambault, especially those who "marry out."
"Every year, there are a number of young women who come to the police academy and they're already married -- to civilians," Archambault says. "The statistics are that they're going to end up divorced within a few years. How many men could feel comfortable being at home in bed while their wife's working patrol in Logan Heights?"
Beneath these relationships, she says, is "the whole stereotypical issue where the male's supposed to be the protector.
"Here you're living with or going out with a woman who's got the gun, and in fact in a dangerous situation she's probably going to be the one that's going to be responding. I think that men have to be very, very secure about who they are, about their masculinity, to be teamed up with female police officers.
"So a lot of us end up [marrying] police officers."
That's what happened to Lord and Archambault. Yet, for Archambault, cops marrying cops is a mixed blessing.
"The advantages would be that we could understand each other, and you're working shift work together, so you can sometimes rotate. A lot of them, to help eliminate the cost of day-care, are purposely working opposite shifts. So there's usually more understanding there."
The other good thing, she says, is that your partner understands the emotional stresses of the job. "I think that we're 'good ears' for each other. I know that my ex and I went through the Ruopp and Tonahill shootings. [Officers Timothy Ruopp and Kimberly Tonahill were killed in Grape Street Park in 1984.] And I remember how good it was to have someone who understood that. That was really traumatic for us."
But there's definitely a downside. "When you're both in the force, [you can get] the situation where two people both want their needs met. If it's two people saying all the time, 'I'm not getting what I want,' then that's where you see people going different directions. Because we can't always be the one to say, 'My needs get met first.' "
She used to watch the female cop show Cagney and Lacy.
"I always loved [the relationship of the officer] who was married to the civilian. He was such a nice guy. I used to think, 'God! I wonder if there are really guys like that who can handle that?' Because, basically, he was Mr. Mom, and he could handle his wife going out all times of the day and night, and he was always taking care of the kids... I used to think, 'Yeah, right! Where are those guys at? Huh?' "
Archambault's marriage, to a sergeant who's now a senior ranking officer in the SDPD, ended in divorce. Lesli Lord's husband Steve Moss also recently filed for divorce. Moss is a sergeant. Lord was a ranking officer, a captain with the added prestige of running the Regional Community Policing Institute, a training academy that teaches the principles of neighborhood-based policing.
"A lot of cops can't turn off the authority," says Archambault. "That might have been an issue with Lesli and Steve. Lesli definitely wanted to go up, and I think Steve might be more comfortable with who he is or where he is. I'm just reading into their relationship from my own personal experiences."
In his divorce suit, Steve Moss sought custody of their three children. The implication, that Lord had forsaken her family for her career, was clear.
"I look at Lesli," says Archambault. "Here's a woman who went for her Ph.D., who was in a very, very demanding, busy job -- how much did she really get to do for herself, to take care of herself?"
Cops are by nature caretakers, says Archambault. "[They are often] children of alcoholics, ultra-responsible, take-charge caretakers. My father quit drinking when I was very young, but he definitely still had some of the tendencies, the personality traits, and he came from a long line. But I think my biggest issue was just growing up in a large family with six brothers. I was definitely a caretaker. That to me is a cop."
And it is these traits, Archambault believes -- cops' belief they can "handle it all" -- that the police department takes advantage of.