Police Process Lecture 16

Dae-Hoon Kwak Michigan State University CJ 335 Summer 2006

6/27/2006

Police Accountability

CJ 335 Summer 2006

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Outline for the lecture •

Describe basic issues in police accountability



Explain traditional and new measures to hold police accountable



Identify various internal and external mechanisms for ensuring police accountability

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Definition of Police Accountability •

Definition - Having to answer for your conduct - In a democratic society the police and other government agencies have to answer to the public - Elected officials are expected to represent the public interest in holding law enforcement agencies under their jurisdiction accountable - In short, citizens control the police as well as other

government agencies through the political process

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Dimensions of Police Accountability •

Two Dimensions - Fairness and effectiveness in policing - To control crime and disorder, and to be fair and ensure justice - Police must be held accountable on both dimensions of their role a. Performing tasks effectively b. Complying the law c. Treating all citizens with equal respect (i.e., fairness) d. For PD, appropriate accountability mechanisms

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Dimensions of Police Accountability (cont.) •

Dilemmas of Policing in a Democracy - The police must answer to the public and to legal principles (vs. totalitarian societies) - The public demands for effective crime control and lawful policing often conflict (e.g., if P.O.s beat confessions out of people, they would solve more crimes)



A Historical Perspective on Accountability - Meaningful accountability is a relatively recent development - History: police were not accountable at all (e.g., corrupt, inefficient, had no standard for on the street behavior) 6/27/2006

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Dimensions of Police Accountability (cont.) •

A Historical Perspective on Accountability (cont.) - Late 1950s: Procedures for account. began to develop (i.e., the Supreme Court began to impose constitutional standards on routine police work) - 1970s: PDs began to develop SOP manuals - 1980s: CP replaced new demands on police to be accountable



Accountability and CP - Accountability is necessary for the success of CP

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Accountability for What Police Do •

Traditional Approach - The police were held primarily for crime control (i.e., crime rate, clearance rate, and response times)



New Measures of Police Service - Quality of life a. Measured with citizen survey (e.g., fear of crime and disorder) b. Regular citizen surveys: perceptions of the PD, evaluate police performance

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Accountability for What Police Do (cont.) •

COMPSTAT: A New Approach - Process a. Meetings with district commanders b. Current crime data is projected on a screen c. District commanders explain activities in their area, report what they are doing about crime trends - Holds middle-level police managers accountable for crime in their areas

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Account. for How Police Do Their Job •

Basic Approaches to Accountability - Internal Mechanisms of Account. a. Accountability procedures within the PD b. E.g., Supervision, Internal Affairs/Professional Standards Units, EIS, Accreditation - External Mechanisms of Account. a. Accountability procedures that are outside the dept. b. E.g., Courts, Pattern or Practice Suits, Citizen Oversight of the Police, A Mixed Approach to Police Accountability

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. •

Supervision - Routine supervision a. One of the central tasks of police management b. For rank-and-file officers on the street, responsibility is left to sergeants c. Supervision activities: span of control (1:8), monitor officers under their command of the situation, reviewing and approving the written reports completed by P.O.s, file reports violation of officer misconduct - Problems of RS: personal ties with the officers, unwilling to criticize those officers

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Supervision (cont.) - Close supervision: goes beyond routine performance appraisal, focuses on specific problems and takes extra steps to correct them - Written policies and reporting requirements: to hold P.O.s accountable, management relies on written reports (AR) - Performance Evaluations: designed to provide feedback to officers on their performance, provide officer opportunity to improve if necessary (also used for promotion) a. Problems: fail to accurately assess an officer’s real performance, halo effect, central tendency phenomenon 6/27/2006

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Internal Affairs Units (IAU) - Responsible for investigating alleged misconduct by P.O.s a. Reactive: response to citizen complaints or off. report b. Proactive: “stings” designed to detect potential corruption - Factors influence to the effectiveness of IAU a. Attitude and the actions of the chief (i.e., leadership) b. Sufficient resources (especially, manpower) c. Training - Obstacles/Dilemmas a. Conflict between IAU officers and other officers b. Biased, favoring some officers and targeting other off. 6/27/2006

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Internal Affairs Units (cont.) - Problems with Internal Discipline Practices a. Inadequate staffing of IAU b. Failure to discipline officers found guilty of misconduct (i.e., code of silence or blue curtain) c. Failure to follow through on discipline (i.e., never took the required action) d. Inconsistent/Favoritism Discipline e. Failure to use disciplinary records in promotions

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Early Intervention Systems (EI) - An EI System is a data-based management tool designed to identify officers whose performance exhibits problems and then to provide interventions (e.g., counseling) to correct those performance problems - Rationale: a small group of officers receive a disproportionate number of citizen complaints and are labeled as problem prone - Performance Indicators: use of force reports, citizen complaints, officer involvement in civil suits, vehicle pursuit, resisting arrest charges filed by the officer… etc.

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Early Intervention Systems (cont.) - Process a. Identification: analysis data b. Selection c. Intervention: supervisor’s counseling, training d. Follow-up: monitor officer’s performance - Goals of EI Systems a. Ind. Officers: designed to improve performance b. Supervisors: improve supervisory efforts with data on employee performance c. Dept.: systematic identification of unacceptable behavior d. PCR: improve PCR by reducing specific problems

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Early Intervention Systems (cont.) - Effectiveness of EI systems: successful in reducing officer use of force and citizen complaints, help to improve supervision



Accreditation - Process of professional self-regulation a. CALEA created in 1979 to establish minimum standards for all LE agencies b. Some standards are mandatory, others are optional

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Internal Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Accreditation (cont.) - Advocates a. View it is as an essential aspect of any occupation that aspires to professional status b. Self-governance is preferable to regulation by external groups - Limitations a. Voluntary process b. Do not define optimum standards of excellence c. Address formal aspects of administration (i.e., do not address specific content) d. Expensive and time-consuming

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External Mechanisms of Account. •

The Political Process - Citizens control the police and other gov. agencies through

the process

- Executive branch: control primarily by appointing police chiefs, directors of state police, and the U.S. attorney general - Legislative branch: control through budgets - Judicial branch: serve as a check and balance on executive and legislative branch, ensures compliance with the law

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

The Courts - The Supreme Court and the Police a. Mapp v. Ohio (1961): protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures”, applied exclusionary rule to state and local police b. Miranda v. Arizona (1966): guaranteed fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination, Miranda warning - Positive effects a. Defined basic principles of due process b. Created penalties for police misconduct c. Stimulated police reform d. Increased public awareness

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

The Courts (cont.) - Limitations a. Court cannot supervise day-to-day operations b. Cannot ensure individual officer compliance c. Most police work does not involve an arrest or reach court d. Encourage evasion or lying by P.O.s e. Exercise of rights may become an empty formality



Civil Suits Against The Police - For civil damage due to police misconduct (e.g., more than $124 million in Detroit in the 1990s)

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Civil Suits Against The Police (cont.) - Little success a. Expensive and difficult to win, time-consuming b. Juries tend to be sympathetic to the police c. Offer potential remedy only in cases of extreme harm



Risk Management - To reduce or eliminate the cause of lawsuit a. Collect systematic data on litigation costs b. Analyze the causes of the underlying lawsuits c. Take steps to reduce the cause of lawsuit - RM has not been adopted widely in American LE 6/27/2006

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

“Patterns or Practice” Suits - The DOJ as a plaintiff to sue a dept. for a pattern of misconduct or systemic practices underlying the misconduct in the dept. - A state attorney general may file a similar suit, which is similar to the U.S. Justice Dept. - The resulting consent decree is a formal agreement by both sides to settle a suit w/o going to trial (cf. plea bargaining)



Criminal Prosecution - Officers who violated the law can be prosecuted an criminal 6/27/2006

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Citizen Oversight of the Police - Civil right groups believe dept.s fail to investigate citizen complaints thoroughly and fairly, demanded citizen oversight (i.e., external review or civilian review) - The roles of citizen oversight a. Independent review so that greater public confidence will be gained from the process b. Monitoring the process, policies, and practices c. Policy review of complaints to identify police problems and making recommendations for changes in dept. policies

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Citizen Oversight of the Police (cont.) - The forms of citizen oversight

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Citizen Oversight of the Police (cont.) - Pro: It removes the isolation of police from the public and enhances public confidence in the police - Cons a. Too intrusive in the professional independence of police b. Persons who are not qualified are reviewing policy c. It is expensive and duplicates the work of IAU d. IAU sustain more complaints against police officers



Blue-Ribbon Commissions - A form of national commission and external account. bringing leading experts in the field to seek improvement 6/27/2006

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

Blue-Ribbon Commissions (cont.) - E.g., Wickersham, President’s Crime Commission - Address a full range of police issue and not just a single pro. - Temporary and disbanded after issuing their final reports, recommendations are only advisory, can be ignored by local officials



The News Media - Role: inform the public, expose serious police problems - The news media contributes to the problem in that

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External Mechanisms of Account. (cont.) •

The News Media (cont.) - The news media contributes to the problem in that: a. It sensationalizes stories b. There is distorted picture of police work c. There is an over emphasis on the negative aspects on policing



Accountability and Crime Control: A Trade Off - The tension between crime control and accountability has resurfaced again - Crime control model vs. Due process model

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A Mixed Approach to Police Account. •

Internal + External Mechanisms - No single mechanism is the key to achieving police accountability - Mixed of internal and external systems, reflects concept of checks and balances - There is general agreement among police experts that internal mechanisms of accountability are likely to be more effective the external methods 6/27/2006

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