The Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal-Sentinel cited PARC's National Guidelines for Internal Affairs Investigations, completed pursuant to the support of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, in an article about a high-profile officer misconduct case:
Evidence in the rape victim's civil suit showed the Police Department had a "de facto policy of failing to impose discipline if the DA chose not to charge," [a judge's] ruling says.
When a police officer is suspected of committing a crime, law enforcement agencies are supposed to conduct two separate investigations: the first to determine whether any officers broke the law; the second, to figure out whether any department rules were violated.
The fact that a police officer is not criminally charged or is acquitted in court should not be the basis for closing an internal investigation, according to guidelines proposed by the Police Assessment Resource Center, a national law enforcement oversight agency.
"A criminal investigation focuses on whether a crime has been committed and concentrates on the specific actions or the mental state of the accused," the guidelines say. "An administrative investigation of a police officer, on the other hand, should look more broadly at the tactical, strategic, and training implications of a particular incident in conjunction with an examination of whether department policy was violated."