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Minimizing Risk by Defining Off-Duty Police Misconduct

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 74 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2007 Pages: 40-45
Thomas J. Martinelli
Date Published
June 2007
6 pages
This article presents definitions of off-duty police misconduct through case law in an attempt to assist law enforcement agencies in developing and implementing a comprehensive accountability plan to minimize legal ramifications.
Instilling a culture of integrity in policing demands that an agency strive for a level of professionalism thereby demonstrating department-wide accountability through a written, comprehensive plan. The plan should incorporate clearly written rules and written sanctions for any violations. Policymakers must draft a unique template of accountability for their own agencies in order to avoid the costs of extended litigation, from either citizens or subordinates. In developing an accountability plan, policymakers and law enforcement agencies must comprehensively define off-duty conduct and misconduct, as well as conduct becoming an officer. To minimize off-duty officer misconduct, agencies must manage the risk. Proactive police supervision is managing the risk. Federal and State case law is reviewed in referencing misconduct cases and the formalizing of an accountability plan. Notes