Walker, Chapter 14

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  • 1. Police in America Chapter Fourteen Accountability of the Police
  • 2. A Definition of Accountability
    • Accountability means having to answer for one’s conduct. Both police organizations and individual police officers are accountable to the public, to elected officials, and to the courts for how well they control crime and maintain order while remaining in compliance with the law.
  • 3. The Dimensions of Accountability
    • The police should be accountable to the public for what they do.
    • The police should be accountable to the public for how they do their job.
    • Governmental officials must hold the police accountable.
    • The Dilemmas of Policing in Democracy
      • Public often demands crime control techniques that are unlawful
    • A Historical Perspective on Accountability:
      • Throughout most of their history, American police were not held accountable
      • Procedures for accountability began to develop in 1950’s
        • COMPSTAT
  • 4. Accountable for What the Police Do
    • Traditional approach
      • Crime rate
      • Clearance rate
      • Response time
    • New Measures
      • Survey of citizens about their neighborhood officers
    • COMPSTAT
      • Holds middle level managers accountable for crime in their areas
      • Command officers are asked to explain data and detail what they are doing about crime trends.
  • 5. COMPSTAT
    • COMPSTAT: Computer Comparison Statistics. An Organizational model, first used by the New York City police in 1994, that allows police departments to blend timely intelligence, effective tactics, rapid deployment of personnel, and vigorous follow-up and assessment.
  • 6. Accountability for How the Police Do Their Job
    • Routine supervision
      • Sergeant
      • Span of control
      • Close supervision
      • Coaching, Mentoring, Leading
      • Organizational Culture
      • Corrective Action: Formal and Informal
      • Written policies and reporting requirements
      • Performance Evaluations
        • Christopher Commission
    • Internal Affairs Units
      • Investigates misconduct
      • Accreditation standards
        • CALEA
      • Code of silence
      • Early warning systems
        • Complaints
        • Lawsuits
        • Use of force
    Internal Mechanisms of Accountability:
  • 7. Internal Discipline Issues
    • 1. Staffing
    • 2. Training for investigators
    • 3. Appropriate Discipline
    • 4. Consistent and Fair Discipline
  • 8. Standards of IA Citizen Complaint Procedures
    • The 2000 Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures (IAPP) of New Jersey requires each department to accept complaints “from any person, including anonymous sources”
    • Using Discipline Records in Personnel Decisions
      • 1991 Christopher Commission changed LAPD standards to take more factors into consideration when promoting or reassigning officers
        • Ex: Number of prior violations, pattern of misconduct in the past, nature and seriousness of past violations
  • 9. The “Code of Silence”
    • “Code of Silence”: Also known as the “blue curtain,” a code of honor among police officers whereby officers refuse to testify against corrupt colleagues, creating a veil of secrecy around police actions.
  • 10. Early Intervention Systems
    • Officers with Performance Problems
      • Early Intervention System : A management information system that complies and analyzes data on problematic police officer behavior, citizen complaints, police officer use-of-force reports, and other indicators to identify officers with recurring performance problems.
    • The Nature of EI Systems
      • Performance data is entered into a computerized database
      • Data is analyzed to identify problem officers
  • 11. The Components of an Early Intervention System
    • Identification
      • Performance indicators
      • Analysis of data
      • Identification of officers with performance problems
    • Selection
      • Assessment of identified officers
      • Selection of officers for intervention
    • Intervention
      • Effort to improve officer performance
      • Supervisor’s counseling
      • Training
      • Referral to professional counseling
    • Follow-up
      • Monitor officer’s performance, postintervention
  • 12. Goals of EI Systems
    • Different target audiences
      • 1. Individual officers
        • Improve performance of those having trouble dealing with citizens
      • 2. Supervisors
        • Give them data to help focus their efforts
      • 3. The department
        • Improve the department as a whole by systematically identifying unacceptable officer performance
      • 4. Police-community relations
        • Reduce specific problems in the community while simultaneously communicating to the public
  • 13. Effectiveness of EI Systems
    • Successful in reducing officer use of force and citizen complaints
    • Successful in identifying officers with performance problems and correcting their performance
    • Improvement of management and supervision
      • Sergeants can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their squads before meeting them
      • Managers can intervene with help before misconduct occurs and requires discipline
  • 14. Risk Management and Police Legal Advisors
    • Risk Management (RM): a process widely used in private industry and in health care agencies to reduce the cost associated with lawsuits against the organization.
      • Not widely used in U.S.
    • Police Legal Advisor: a lawyer or team of lawyers employed by the police department itself.
      • Purpose is preventative: review policies before a problem arises
  • 15. Surveying the Community
    • Another method to holding police departments accountable is to survey residents about their experiences and perceptions of the department
  • 16. Accreditation
    • The Nature of Accreditation:
      • Accreditation is the process of voluntary professional self-regulation that serves as a final approach to establishing minimum national standards in policing.
    • Benefits
      • Reduced insurance costs
      • Improved use of force reporting
      • Improved procedures for juveniles
    • Criticisms
      • Voluntary process
      • Set minimum standards, but do not define optimum standards for excellence
      • Only address purely formal aspects of administration without addressing specific content
      • Too expensive and time-consuming
  • 17. External Mechanisms of Accountability
    • The political process
      • Citizens can elect police chiefs, sheriffs, and other officials and thus, they control the police and other government agencies through the political process
      • Executive Branch
        • Appoints police chiefs, directors of state police, U.S. attorney general
      • Legislative Branch
        • Budgets
      • Judicial Branch
        • Serves as a check and balance, assuring compliance with the law
  • 18. The Courts
    • The Supreme Court and the Police
      • Mapp v. Ohio (1961): “all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Constitution is, by that same authority, inadmissible in a state court
    • Impact of Supreme Court Decisions
      • Miranda requirements changed how officers are trained and go about gathering evidence
      • Studies show the exclusionary rule does not limit the crime-fighting capacity of the police
      • Court is limited, though, as it cannot supervise day-today police operations
    • Civil Suit against the Police
      • Victims of police abuse can sue in federal court under state or federal law for civil damages
      • Lawsuits are expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to win
  • 19. Federal “Pattern or Practice” Suits
    • Department of Justice Suits
      • Most pattern or practice suits are brought through the U.S. Justice Department
      • Pattern or practice cases are settled through a consent decree , a memorandum of agreement, or an investigative findings letter
      • Pattern or practice cases: more than “sporadic bad incidents” and requires “information indicating a pattern of misconduct”
    • State and Private Suits
      • Attorney General can bring civil suits against departments
  • 20. Federal “Pattern or Practice” Suits Cont.
    • Court-Ordered Reforms
      • Require a set of management changes related to accountability including use of force reporting, EI systems, improved citizen complaint procedures, and officer training
    • Court-Appointed Independent Monitors
      • Monitors function to oversee implementation of the court-ordered reforms, assists the department in implementing reforms, and to issue public reports on reform progress
  • 21. Federal “Pattern or Practice” Suits Cont. II
    • The Impact of Consent Decrees
      • Overall, they were successful in achieving their intended goals
    • Thinking About Court-Ordered Reform
      • Is litigation an effective tool for bringing about organizational change in law enforcement agencies?
      • Is litigation an appropriate tool in all situations?
      • Will reforms be sustained following the end of a MOA or consent decree?
    • Injunctions
      • Led by civil rights groups to target police practices that systematically violate citizen rights
    • Criminal Prosecution
      • Police officers who violate the law can be prosecuted as criminals
      • Successful persecution is extremely difficult
  • 22. Citizen Oversight of the Police
    • Citizen Oversight: The process by which people who are not sworn officers are involved in some way in the review of citizen complaints against police officers
    • Rests on the assumption that police subculture prevents officers from objectively investigating complaints against fellow officers
  • 23. Two Models of Citizen Oversight
    • 1. Civilian Review Boards
      • A board of citizens that review individual complaints and make recommendations to the police chief
    • 2. Police Auditors
      • Do not investigate individual citizen complaints
      • Monitor the operations of the police department
    • Goals and Objectives
      • Both operate on the assumption that providing some citizen input will improve policing
      • Seek increased transparency of police departments
      • Both issue detailed public reports of findings
  • 24. Citizen Oversight: Pro and Con
    • Cons:
      • 1. It intrudes on the professional independence of the police
      • 2. Non-officers are not qualified to review police operations
      • 3. Too expensive and duplicates the work of internal affairs
      • 4. Internal affairs units sustain more complaints against police officers
    • Pros:
      • 1. Serves to open up police departments and end historic isolation from the public
      • 2. Enhances public confidence in the complaint process
  • 25. The New Paradigm: Complaints as a “Learning” Tool
    • Complaints were once ignored and went uninvestigated, but today, departments view complaints as tools to gain useful information about possible problems that need to be addressed.
    • Blue-Ribbon Commissions
      • A form of external accountability
      • Function to bring together experts in the field and define minimum standards that can be used to seek improvement in local departments
      • Sponsor original research and generate new knowledge about policing
      • Comprehensive in scope
  • 26. The News Media
    • Play an important role in police accountability through reporting on what the police are doing on a daily basis
    • Helps public to make informed decisions relating to policing
    • Influential in exposing serious police problems
    • Sometimes contribute to police problems
      • Only represent sensational stories
      • Focus too much on crime and ignore other police work
      • Tend to emphasize negative aspects of policing
        • Unwritten rule of news media is that good news is not news
  • 27. Public Interest Organizations
    • Public Interest Orgs. like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Oakland are involved in attacking police misconduct
      • ACLU briefs were the basis for the Court’s decision in the landmark Mapp and Miranda cases
    • NAACP has long record of fighting police use of excessive force against African Americans
  • 28. Accountability and Crime Control: A Trade-Off?
    • Do strict accountability measures limit the crime control effectiveness of the police?
    • Bayley argues breaking the law does little to improve crime control and harms the police, weakens their authority and reduces crime-control effectiveness
  • 29. A Mixed Approach to Police Accountability
    • Represents a blend of internal and external mechanisms
      • No single method is the key to achieving accountability
      • System of checks and balances
        • Elected officials
        • Police administrators
        • Courts
        • Citizens