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Question

Can a male officer pat down a female suspect?

Answer

Depends. Most police departments have policies regarding male officers searching female suspects and female officers searching male suspects. If it is just a pat down on the outside of the clothes, then the officer probably can do it regardless of the sex of the officer or the suspect.

Many officers will use the back of their hand to do the pat down on an opposite sex suspect, and that may be their departments policy. In smaller departments, there may not be a same sex officer available to do a pat down of a suspect.

If the search is more extensive than just a pat down of the outer clothing, then most police departments require same sex officers to do the search, or they will get assistance from jail personnel if that is available.

There is no law requiring same sex officers to do pat down type searches.

Added:
Friday, 23 July 2010
Revised:
Friday, 23 July 2010

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