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Building Trust Between the Police and the Citizens They Serve: An Internal Affairs Promising Practices Guide for Local Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2009
132 pages
Recognizing that the Internal Affairs (IA) division of a law enforcement agency takes the lead in reassuring the community that the police will address and resolve unethical behavior by a police officer, this guide focuses on building an effective Internal Affairs approach in this endeavor for any size or type of agency.
Rather than viewing Internal Affairs as a stand-alone activity of a department, this guide views Internal Affairs as one component of an agency-wide professional standards effort. The guide first discusses some of the other components of an agency that are essential in building community trust: hiring, training, and rewarding excellent performance. It then turns to the building of an effective Internal Affairs function. This effort encompasses complaint processing, decisionmaking, discipline, notification, and transparency. The guide also suggests ways for an agency to be accountable to the citizens it serves by engaging in trust-building initiatives. Citizen involvement models range from informal mechanisms to formalized (sometimes mandated) citizen Internal Affairs review boards. The guide's concluding section discusses the critical relationship of the law enforcement leader and the governing body of the jurisdiction in building community trust and effective Internal Affairs practices. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) recommend that law enforcement leaders engage their governing bodies in the entire community trust-building process. 15 references, a glossary, and appended sample recruitment plan; sample performance improvement policy, procedure, and plan; sample community surveys; sample memorandum of understanding; CALEA standards for law enforcement agencies' Internal Affairs; IACP concepts and issues paper and model policy on the investigation of employee misconduct; sample officer notification form; funding sources for training and software on ethics and Internal Affairs; and the methodology used in developing this guide