Conducting Internal Affairs Investigations – 2006

The area of internal affairs investigations is growing increasingly complex. This manual attempts to review many of the most common issues confronting chiefs and internal affairs investigators. Only a small percentage of police departments in this state have even one full-time officer assigned to internal affairs. This means that for most departments, the task of investigating allegations of officer misconduct falls to the chief or other officer that lacks the same level of experience, if not training, of full-time IA investigators.

It is clear that every department needs to assign, train and support the best qualified officers to the Internal Affairs unit or function. This has often proven to be an essential step in the career path of police officers that show potential for department leadership.

The community policing philosophy depends on the integrity of the police department. If the public lacks confidence in the agency’s ability and commitment to investigate and prosecute officer misconduct, there is little hope for successful partnerships and problem-solving.

When it comes to giving advice to all municipal departments, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” Chiefs are encouraged to adapt sample policies, procedures and forms to fit their department’s needs. As with all evolving areas of the law, consultation with municipal counsel and the offices of the District Attorney, Attorney General and U.S. Attorney is recommended.

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