The role of internal affairs in police training.
What can police departments do to prevent incidents of police misconduct Police misconduct refers to objectional actions taken by police officers in connection with their official duties, which can lead to a miscarriage of justice. Types of misconduct
This article discusses internal affairs investigations and explores some of the opportunities that various types of internal affairs training could provide. Because the resolution of a complaint against a police department and its employees could have a negative effect, law enforcement agencies A law enforcement agency (LEA) is a term used to describe any agency which enforces the law. This may be a local or state police, federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). should examine how the results of internal affairs investigations could help their employees to better serve the department and citizens.
Internal Affairs Investigations
Properly conducted internal affairs investigations go beyond a finding of right or wrong, or one that is justified or not justified. They also include comprehensive and ongoing reviews of the affected policy to ensure that it conforms to contemporary law enforcement standards, court rulings, and current agency needs. However, a comprehensive internal affairs investigation may also include a review of the department's training procedures regarding matters under investigation. For example, officer misconduct MISCONDUCT. Unlawful behaviour by a person entrusted in any degree: with the administration of justice, by which the rights of the parties and the justice of the, case may have been affected.
2. often results from a lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding of departmental policy and/or procedure. Supplemental training could reduce or possibly eliminate further incidents among other officers in the department.
The internal affairs unit is also an important resource to identify trends in individual and group behavior and attitudes. Oftentimes of·ten·times also oft·times
Adv. 1. oftentimes - many times at short intervals; "we often met over a cup of coffee"
frequently, oft, often, ofttimes , as in a puzzle, an individual case or part has little or no meaning. However, once several components are viewed together, a clearer picture appears. In this regard, internal affairs units should consider conducting an annual analysis of all citizen complaints and police use of force. Such an analysis helps to identify the common denominators common denominator
1. Mathematics A quantity into which all the denominators of a set of fractions may be divided without a remainder.
2. A commonly shared theme or trait. in complaints and use of force reports.
In turn, with analytical findings, departments can identify training needs in such areas as policy and procedure, tactics, sensitivity/cultural awareness, and supervisory responsibility. Or, department managers can track positive trends, such as changes in employee behavior that result from training initiated after an internal affairs review.
Internal Affairs and the Training Process
Undoubtedly, positive police/ community relations 1. The relationship between military and civilian communities.
2. Those public affairs programs that address issues of interest to the general public, business, academia, veterans, Service organizations, military-related associations, and other non-news media entities. require proper training. As a testament to this, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) was created in 1979 as an independent accrediting authority by the four major law enforcement membership associations:
CALEA Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994
CALEA Communication Assistance to Low Enforcement Act ) adopted numerous training standards as part of its comprehensive accreditation accreditation,
n a process of formal recognition of a school or institution attesting to the required ability and performance in an area of education, training, or practice. program. One standard identified the importance of departmentwide input in the development and evaluation of training needs and concerns.(1)
With this in mind, law enforcement departments should include members of their internal affairs units in the training process. Smaller departments that do not have separate internal affairs units should allow those officers who normally conduct internal affairs investigations to participate. The insights these individuals offer may help to identify future training needs.
In a model policy statement, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF perf - chad ) suggested that police ethics ethics, in philosophy, the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles. Moral principles may be viewed either as the standard of conduct that individuals have constructed for themselves or as the body of obligations and duties that a should be a major component in the training curricula, as should an indepth examination of the rules, procedures, and outcomes of the disciplinary process.(2) As such, it seems appropriate for internal affairs personnel to participate in the recruit training program.
Police departments should allow sufficient time for investigators to instruct in·struct
v. in·struct·ed, in·struct·ing, in·structs
1. To provide with knowledge, especially in a methodical way. See Synonyms at teach.
2. To give orders to; direct.
v. recruits as to their duties and responsibilities, as well as to inform them of departmental policies and procedures Policies and Procedures are a set of documents that describe an organization's policies for operation and the procedures necessary to fulfill the policies. They are often initiated because of some external requirement, such as environmental compliance or other governmental concerning complaints of alleged misconduct. At this time, investigators should familiarize recruits with the department's forms and procedures in processing disciplinary cases and the appropriate appeal processes regarding adverse actions.
In addition, internal affairs investigators need to clarify the relationship between the officer and the jurisdiction in defending civil suits. However, training should also emphasize ways recruits can avoid complaints and reduce the chance of becoming involved in an adverse disciplinary action. In this regard, internal affairs investigators can impress upon recruits the importance of complete honesty when reporting incidents or responding to administrative questions. Recruits must realize that false statements only complicate com·pli·cate
tr. & intr.v. com·pli·cat·ed, com·pli·cat·ing, com·pli·cates
1. To make or become complex or perplexing.
2. To twist or become twisted together.
1. matters and may result in harsher administrative action.
Most new officers are very conscientious con·sci·en·tious
1. Guided by or in accordance with the dictates of conscience; principled: a conscientious decision to speak out about injustice.
2. and strive to do a good job. However, these same officers must realize that at some point, they may become the subject of a complaint. Unfortunately, the very nature of law enforcement in today's society sets the stage for emotional situations that could result in a complaint lodged against an officer. However, internal affairs investigators should advise recruits to remain objective and not to become involved personally or emotionally with the case.
Furthermore, internal affairs investigators must be objective, fair, and treat people as they would like to be treated in a similar situation. This interaction between recruits and internal affairs investigators encourages increased communication and prevents mistrust and misunderstandings.
Despite the immense value of informing recruits of the internal affairs process, training should not stop there. Newly enacted legislation and court actions continually impact on a myriad of personnel issues. To inform veteran employees of these changes, many departments subscribe to Verb 1. subscribe to - receive or obtain regularly; "We take the Times every day"
buy, purchase - obtain by purchase; acquire by means of a financial transaction; "The family purchased a new car"; "The conglomerate acquired a new company"; publications that report the latest case law developments in the areas of constitutional law and personnel procedures. Law enforcement managers and internal affairs personnel should study this information and then disseminate dis·sem·i·nate
v. dis·sem·i·nat·ed, dis·sem·i·nat·ing, dis·sem·i·nates
1. To scatter widely, as in sowing seed.
2. it using training bulletins. This not only exposes employees to the latest rulings but also keeps them abreast of personnel issues and constitutional law.
In addition, internal affairs investigators should participate in inservice training sessions. Their firsthand first·hand
Received from the original source: firsthand information.
first knowledge of internal affairs investigations and recent court rulings could help to explain departmental changes in policy or procedure that affect the delivery of law enforcement services and how personnel matters are addressed.
Despite the best efforts of department managers to deal effectively with complaints against employees, problems still arise. However, not all internal affairs investigations result in a finding of gross wrong-doing on the part of the law enforcement employee. Quite often, an employee merely exercises bad judgment or misunderstands departmental policies or procedures. These and other minor infractions are addressed more appropriately through one-on-one counseling or training.
This person-to-person contact, if properly conducted, may help to bring about a positive behavior change Behavior change refers to any transformation or modification of human behavior. Such changes can occur intentionally, through behavior modification, without intention, or change rapidly in situations of mental illness. on the part of the employee, which will prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. This type of training not only resolves the matter in question but also fosters a better relationship between the employee and the internal affairs unit.
An agency's internal affairs unit, if properly used, is an important resource. The experience of the internal affairs personnel in conducting administrative investigations and analyzing complaints and use-of-force cases detects individual and departmentwide trends that, if not corrected, could manifest themselves as major problems in the future. But, the value of the internal affairs unit does not stop there. The work of the internal affairs unit can be used to identify critical training needs. In this broadened role, internal affairs investigators serve as training instructors who can help to create better working relationships between department employees and the internal affairs unit.
Today, departments should not use internal affairs units only to enforce departmental policy and regulations. With proper planning, these units can play a positive role in effective law enforcement training.
(1) The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies, Fairfax, Virginia Fairfax is an independent city forming an enclave within the confines of Fairfax County, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although politically independent of the surrounding county, the City of Fairfax is nevertheless its county seatGR6. , 1989. (2) The U.S. Department of Justice, Principles of Good Policing: Avoiding Violence Between Police and Citizens, Washington, DC, 1987.