Most criminal justice agencies have some version of an internal affairs (IA) department. Hollywood has long portrayed IA as the enemy, investigating and looking to reprimand their own brothers and sisters in law enforcement, corrections, and the courts. Personnel who talk or report issues to IA are often characterized as rats or snitches, and there is said to be an unwritten rule known as the blue wall of silence.
Do you believe IA should be as concerned with the law enforcement officer who fails to report a known ethics violation versus the person suspected of the ethics violation? Should they (if proven to be guilty) both be reprimanded? Explain your position.
ANSWER THE ABOVE QUESTION AND THEN REPLY TO MY CLASSMATE’S RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTION AND EXPLAIN WHY YOU AGREE? (A MINIMUM OF 125 WORDS or MORE)
Well, wrong is wrong. In our police department we have a policy and procedure, P&P III 3.3.2 which states “All personnel are required to report any observation or information received which constitutes violation of the written directives of this department.” The problem is that there are many different levels of “wrong.” If any officer is committing crimes on or off duty, then I absolutely expect it to be reported. We have taken an oath to protect and serve and in no way are we above the law. Now when it comes to things on a smaller scale of wrong, I think we all look the other way when an officer uses salty language or rolls a stop. And yes, anyone who does come to supervisors with these things are called rats.
While I was working as a canine handler, I was at a 7-11 grabbing a soda and was getting the cold shoulder from the clerk. I asked her what her problem with me was, she told me that she thought we all did not like her because she reported misconduct by one of our detectives. When she told me what he had done, I was horrified and told her that not only I, but all of us admired her for her courage to come forward to report a dirty cop. It turns out that this guy was window peeping her and then served a fake search warrant to her apartment off duty on his own time. She ended up being one of many women who reported similar accounts against this detective. Not only did we fire him, he was investigated criminally, and the case was sent to the prosecutor’s office. It was my supervisor on third shift that had the courage to do the right thing and put a stop to this detective’s behavior. If my supervisor would not have had the guts to do the right thing, he would have been just as guilty for letting this happen and if these escalated to these women being assaulted, our department could have been on the hook. Aside from that, it would be a terrible thing to live with knowing that you could have prevented it.
I believe that if the violation is serious enough and if the violation is a felony, the person who had knowledge and failed to report it should be disciplined as well. These are tumultuous times and with the public having a compromised trust in the police, the police must do the right thing and hold those responsible for misconduct accountable. I have always said if you can’t trust the police, you can’t trust anyone.
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