Law enforcement agencies across the United States are responsible for having an effective and professional process for investigating complaints made against its officers and to ensure that any misconduct by employees is dealt with appropriately. Often agencies will have officers specifically assigned to ensure professional standards of competence. These “Internal Affairs” or “Professional Standards” officers receive specific training on how to accomplish this task. However, with over half of the law enforcement agencies in the United States made up of fewer then 24 officers, many agencies lack the resources for these investigative specialists. Therefore, the duty of investigating these types of complaints is left to the shift supervisor.
Misconduct investigations are unlike most other investigations and require a fact-finding approach and transparency in order to retain the public’s confidence and trust. An agency must demonstrate to the public and its members that only the highest ethical standards of law enforcement will be practiced by the agency and that the investigation of complaints follow established professional standards. Immediate and proper intervention of potential employee performance or misconduct incidents, at the appropriate level, serves to promote morale within the agency and promotes positive interactions and support of the community.
Students Will Learn:
• The importance of ethical standards for persons assigned to conduct internal investigations and the core values associated with the proper handling of all internal investigations.
• About the impact of internal investigations on officer’s conduct and ethical decision-making.
• To identify the difference between performance issues, policy issues, and serious misconduct as well as the supervisor’s role in handling such incidents.
• The necessary steps regarding an internal investigation and relevant case law involving the interviews, investigations, and searches of employees.