Ind. police apologize for revealing bra sizes of female officers

8:43 PM, Jul 9, 2011   |    comments
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INDIANAPOLIS - A metropolitan police commander issued a personal apology to 13 female officers after their bra size, height and weight were included in a departmental email this week.

"We made a mistake," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief Valerie Cunningham said. "We want to hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. The measurements should not have been included."

The email was sent Tuesday to 37 commanders and was intended to tell supervisors to inform their officers that their new protective vests were ready to be picked up.

Attached to the email, however, was a spreadsheet listing the names and sizes of 91 officers, including the chest and waist sizes for 13 women whose vests needed special tailoring, Cunningham said.

The police union was exploring a possible grievance or legal action after several of the female officers said they were upset, said William R. Owensby, Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police president.

"I understand the anger and embarrassment," Owensby said. "It's just one of those unfortunate things where it occurred, and it can't be taken back."

Owensby noted that the department tried to correct the mistake by putting a halt to the email, but it was too late.

"Departmental emails are public record. It's out there," Owensby said. "There is some legitimacy to the embarrassment about this."

Cunningham, who is the highest-ranking woman in the department, was among the officers who received the initial email. She said she realized it contained sensitive information about three hours later.

In an effort to mitigate the damage, Cunningham said she sent an email to recipients advising them to remove the attached document before forwarding the message.

Protective vests wear out and have to be replaced every three to five years. Size information is vital, Cunningham said, because each vest must fit correctly in order to provide full protection.

Rosanne Manghisi, executive director of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, called it unfortunate.

"Unfortunately, you don't want that stuff to be exploited," said Manghisi, a retired New Jersey State Police captain. "Women get fitted, and obviously bra size is a part of that. You want to be fitted correctly."

There are 1,640 officers on IMPD; 210 are women. All officers are issued protective vests.

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