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Course Catalog

Internal Affairs Investigations: Legal Liability and Best Practices

Instructor(s):

  • Matt Dolan
    Attorney & Director, Dolan Consulting Group, NC

In an era of unparalleled transparency and calls for police accountability to the public they serve, internal affairs investigations are more vital to agency operations than ever before. This training is geared towards any investigators and/or supervisors who are involved in the process of investigating officers for potential wrongdoing, making disciplinary decisions and/or defending those findings and decisions in court, arbitration or civil service proceedings.

This training will help prepare investigators and supervisors to conduct investigations in a way that avoids common pitfalls, utilizes best practices and proceeds in a manner that is defensible in the court of law and the court of public opinion.  

Case studies will be utilized in this training to help attendees in balancing officers’ rights to fair treatment along with the organization’s obligation to maintain the highest standards of conduct for the men and women who protect and serve. 

The damage caused by police misconduct—to the organization and to the public

  • Organizational failures to address performance issues before isolated instances become habitual misconduct
  • Getting back to Peelian Principles—understanding and reflecting community priorities
  • Early intervention as a part of IA operations

Complaint intake, transparency and the public trust

  • The complainant’s perspective in IA investigations
  • The challenge of maintaining objectivity in internal investigations
  • Laying investigative foundation through pre-interview information collection
  • Focusing on issues material to the investigation and avoiding “rabbit holes” and “fishing expeditions”
  • When a citizen complaint is better than a lawsuit—a sense of urgency in addressing routine complaints

Officers’ rights in IA investigations

  • Officers’ rights under the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment and Garrity
  • Distinguishing between administrative and criminal investigations regarding internal affairs
  • Investigating off-duty conduct, including social media
  • Maintaining fairness and a sense of “procedural justice” for officers subject to investigations

Making Discipline Stick in Law Enforcement

  • The most common supervisor errors in investigations and disciplinary decisions
  • Inconsistent discipline
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Due process violations
  • Employee’s past record of performance

Upcoming Training

No classes currently scheduled.
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Developing Organizational Performance Leadership