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PARTICIPATIVE DUE PROCESS MODEL FOR POLICE DISCIPLINE

NCJ Number
57623
Journal
Police Chief Volume: 46 Issue: 6 Dated: (JUNE 1979) Pages: 67-71
Author(s)
A F FAIRBANKS; T L STEWART
Date Published
1979
Length
5 pages
Annotation
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PARTICIPATIVE DUE PROCESS MODEL FOR POLICE DISCIPLINE IN THE TEMPE, ARIZ., POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS HELPED GREATLY IN REDUCING UNFAIR DISCIPLINE AND SUPERVISORY BIAS.
Abstract
DUE TO GROWTH IN SIZE AND COMPLEXITY, THE TEMPE POLICE DEPARTMENT IN 1974 RECOGNIZED THE NEED TO DEVELOP UNIFORM CHARGING STANDARDS FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF INTERNAL DISCIPLINE, AS WELL AS A UNIFORM PENALTY PRESCRIPTION. AS A RESULT OF THE COLLECTIVE EFFORTS OF THE SUPERVISORS, A CODE OF DISCIPLINE WAS DEVISED WHICH INCLUDED A COMPREHENSIVE SET OF STANDARDS AND PENALTIES. THE MAIN CATEGORIES WERE (1) CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN OFFICER, (2) INSUBORDINATION, (3) NEGLECT OF DUTY, AND (4) DISOBEDIENCE OF ORDERS. TO IMPLEMENT THESE STANDARDS FAIRLY A DUE PROCESS BOARD OF INQUIRY EVOLVED. THE BOARD PROVIDED A MECHANISM BY WHICH THE CODE OF DISCIPLINE COULD BE FAIRLY AND UNIFORMLY ENFORCED. SIX OBJECTIVES OF THE BOARD DELINEATED WERE (1) PARTICIPATION AT THE OPERATIONAL LEVEL, (2) DUE PROCESS, (3) DISINVOLVEMENT OF THE AFFECTED SUPERVISOR IN DETERMINING PENALTIES, AND (4) DISCOVERY. THE PROCESS SHOULD PROVIDE FOR AN OPEN AND FRANK DISCUSSION OF THE FACTS, FAIR AND IMPARTIAL PANELISTS, AND HEARING OF RECORD. THE HEARING AND ALL EVIDENCE SHALL BE RECORDED FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. THE CONCLUSION AFTER 4 YEARS OF OPERATION WAS THAT THE SYSTEM WAS FUNCTIONING WELL. COMPLAINTS RELATING TO UNFAIR DISCIPLINE HAD BEEN REDUCED TO A MINIMUM. OF MORE THAN 30 CASES REFERRED TO THE BOARD, ONLY ONE WAS APPEALED. ABOUT 18 PERCENT RESULTED IN A RECOMMENDATION OF TERMINATION, 30 PERCENT IN PENALTIES OF 1 TO 30 DAYS SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY AND IN 52 PERCENT OF THE CASES THE DEFENDANT CHOSE TO WAIVE THE BOARD AND ACCEPT ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES. THUS, EFFORTS OF THE TEMPE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO INSTITUTE A SYSTEM OF DISCIPLINE WHICH PROMOTES THE CONCEPT OF OPENNESS AND FAIRNESS CAN BE CONSIDERED SUCCESSFUL AND COULD BE USED ASSAULT A MODEL FOR DISCIPLINE CODES IN OTHER POLICE DEPARTMENTS. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (STB)