Background

"On the rare occasion when an officer is accused of misconduct or criminal activity, he or she may be subject to an investigation. Implementing an honest and fair fact-finding process that uncovers the truth is the important role of the internal affairs function of a law enforcement agency, and it is essential to maintain a process that protects the rights of all involved, including the accused officer." (Standards and Guidelines for Internal Affairs: Recommendations from a Community of Practice at 6.)

Scope of Work

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and 11 other major U.S. law enforcement agencies asked PARC to serve as consultants and the official reporter for a COPS-sponsored National Internal Affairs Community of Practice group.  PARC's charge was to advise and participate in wide-ranging discussions about internal affairs functions in police departments, as well as to distill the conversation into clear, consensus standards and guidelines that could guide law enforcement agencies nationally.

Approach

Collaboration & Consensus. The some 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States are subject to distinct histories, communities, and local legal frameworks. PARC collaborated closely with represented law enforcement agencies to determine what values, objectives, and outcomes were uniform across varying local structures.

Results

Leading the Field. The COPS Office published the Standards and Guidelines for Internal Affairs: Recommendations from a Community of Practice in 2008. It has since guided reforms in local agencies and been widely cited by police and oversight professionals.

 

PROJECT OBJECTIVE

Advise and serve as reporters for consortium of major law enforcement agencies on internal affairs standards and guidelines.

KEY ISSUES ADDRESSED

Police Oversight
Citizen Complaints
Internal Investigations
Administrative Reviews

KEY RESOURCES

Standards and Guidelines for Internal Affairs: Recommendations from a Community of Practice (2008)

MEDIA

"Aurora police internal affairs policies do not comply with justice department best practices," ABC-7 (Denver) (Feb. 2013)
"Internal Affairs: An Evolution in Organizational Culture?," Police Chief (Nov. 2011)