14.00.090 INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS (CALEA 52.1.1, 52.1.3, 52.2.3, 52.2.5) & (52.2.6)
v Dissatisfaction with Service
This investigation involves a complaint received regarding the quality of service delivery. These complaints include concerns regarding customer service or the nature of department practices. A disagreement over the validity of a traffic infraction or criminal citation is not a complaint. Such disagreements should be directed to the proper Court having jurisdiction in the matter. These complaints will be documented on a complaint report, approved by a Captain, and forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) for logging in the complaint tracking system. At the conclusion of the investigation, the complainant shall be informed of the final outcome via telephone, letter, fax, or e-mail as deemed appropriate by the investigator. These investigations should normally be concluded and forwarded to OPS within 20 days of receipt of the complaint by a supervisor.
v Incident Reviews
Incident Reviews shall be conducted on incidents involving use of force, pursuits, vehicle collisions, and loss/damage of department equipment. These reviews are done by a supervisor and approved by the Commander of the section/unit. These reviews ensure the employee is complying with department policies and procedures, rules and regulations, and provide a means of identifying a need for corrective measures. If the initial review of the incident indicates a possible violation of department standards, the review will be re-classified and assigned as either an Informal or Formal Standards Investigation. Incident Reviews should normally be completed within ten days of the incident prompting the review.
The Supervisor completing the review may provide notification via electronic mail to the Department Command Staff and the Office of Professional Standards. This email should be sent immediately after the review is completed. The Office of Professional Standards will prepare annual reports to the Chief regarding the number, types, and outcomes of Incident Reviews that have been received.
Chief of Police Notification (CALEA 52.2.2)
All complaints that are to be investigated as possible Standard Investigations shall be routed to the Office of Professional Standards through chain of command by the Supervisor or Commander.
If the complaint involves a serious allegation the Office of Professional Standards shall be notified within 24 hours of receipt. If the Chief has not already been notified, the Office of Professional Standards shall inform the Chief of Police as soon as possible.
The Chief will be notified of Informal Standards Investigations through bi-weekly meetings with the Office of Professional Standards The Office of Professional Standards will also provide the current status information of other ongoing investigations during this meeting.
v Standards Investigations
The following investigations involve an allegation that if sustained would be a violation of Department standards or other written directive:
1. Informal Standards Investigations
Informal Standards Investigations will be conducted for minor alleged violations. The maximum action for sustained findings is a written reprimand. These investigations will generally be done by the involved employee’s immediate supervisor, but may be done by OPS at the direction of the Chief of Police if deemed to be complex, sensitive, or connected to a formal standards investigation. If the involved employee has a disciplinary history within the applicable period, the investigation may be handled as a Formal Standards Investigation by OPS.
In order to initiate a standards investigation, a Supervisor will prepare a memo to their Major via the chain of command detailing the conduct in question and requesting authorization for a Standards Investigation. Informal standards investigations may be authorized by a Major.
Allegations that may justify an Informal Standards Investigation may include but are not limited to:
a) Tardiness in reporting for duty
b) Failing to comply with personal appearance and equipment standards
c) Work performance issues
d) Complaints of a minor nature from citizens or other persons
e) Complaints of minor traffic violations
g) Criticism of Department and employees
h) Improper language
2. Formal Standards Investigations
Formal Standards Investigations will be conducted for the more serious allegations and will be conducted by the Office of Professional Standards (or other person assigned by the Chief of Police). The person assigned to conduct a Formal Standards Investigation shall report directly to the Chief of Police.
In order to request a formal standards investigation, a Supervisor will prepare a memo to the Chief of Police via the chain of command detailing the conduct in question and requesting authorization for a Standards Investigation.
Allegations that may justify a Formal Standards Investigation may include but are not limited to:
b) Excessive force
c) Criminal conduct, either on or off-duty
d) Improper entry into a residence or business
e) Pursuit / Emergency Driving in violation of Policy
f) Improper search of a person, vehicle, residence, or business
g) Improper arrest of a person
i) Serious demeanor violations
j) Serious rule infractions such as disrespect toward a supervisor, drunkenness on duty, sleeping on duty, abuse of authority, and neglect of duty.
k) Sexual, racial, or other harassment
l) Failure to take proper police action
m) Repeated policy/ procedure, rules and regulations violations that were previously handled as an Informal Standards investigation and subject employee already received a written reprimand within the previous three years
Any employee who is the subject of a Standards Investigation shall be notified that allegations have been made against them and that an investigation is being conducted. The notification shall contain the nature of the investigation and the information necessary to reasonably apprise the employee of the allegations, conduct or incident under investigation, the due date for completion, and the employee’s rights and responsibilities relative to the investigation.
For formal standards investigations, the notification shall be in writing through the use of the Formal Standards Investigation Advisement form. The completed Advisement form shall be delivered to the employee within fourteen (14) calendar days of when the investigation was authorized by the Chief of Police.
For informal standards investigations, this notification can be made by the investigating Supervisor and will occur as soon as possible within 7 days of the start of the investigation.
Exceptions to notification requirements can be made if delivery is not physically possible, notification would prevent an effective investigation, or notification may place another individual at risk. Under any of these circumstances, notification shall be delivered as soon as reasonably possible.
Informal Standards Investigations will normally be concluded within 30 days after the date of assignment. Requests for an extension for completion due to extenuating circumstances should be coordinated through OPS and may be authorized by the Major of the involved employee.
Formal Standards Investigations will be completed as expeditiously as possible, normally within 45 days from when it was assigned for investigation. Extensions for completion due to extenuating circumstances can be authorized by the Chief of Police.
Upon completion, the supervisor shall forward the investigation and documents to the Office of Professional Standards through their chain of command.
STANDARDS INVESTIGATION FINDINGS (CALEA 52.2.8)
All allegations of misconduct contained in a Standards Investigation shall be concluded with one of the following:
v Exonerated: The incident did occur but the conduct or performance of the employee was found to be lawful and proper.
v Sustained: The allegation is supported by sufficient evidence to justify a conclusion that the alleged misconduct occurred.
v Not-Sustained: There is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation(s).
v Unfounded: The investigation revealed that the incident or allegation(s) did not occur.
v Exceptional: The investigation was discontinued because the employee left the department, there was a settlement of the allegation, or there is a legal bar to completing the investigation.
v Policy Review: The investigation revealed a need for review of the department standard and/or training.
Informal standards investigations that result in a sustained finding will result in the employee receiving one or more of the following;
1) Coaching, Counseling, and/or Training;
2) Verbal Reprimand;
3) Written Reprimand (Written reprimands can be written by the involved employee’s Supervisor, but must be reviewed and signed by the Chief of Police.)
Formal standards investigations that result in a sustained finding will result in the employee receiving one or more of the following;
1) Coaching, Counseling, and/or Training;
2) Verbal Reprimand;
3) Written Reprimand (Written reprimands can be written by the involved employee’s Supervisor, but must be reviewed and signed by the Chief of Police.);
5) Disciplinary transfer;
7) Termination of employment.
Discipline is intended to change the behavior of the employee. The type of discipline imposed is dependent upon the factors provided earlier in this standard.
Notice of Intent to Discipline: Disciplinary actions involving economic loss can only be authorized by the Chief of Police. A notice of intended discipline will be provided to the employee whenever discipline will result in an economic loss. The employee will be provided an opportunity for a Due Process (Loudermill) hearing prior to the discipline in accordance with the City of Bellevue Employee Policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements.