Law enforcement agencies across the United States are responsible for having an effective and professional process for investigating complaints made against its officers and to ensure that any misconduct by employees is dealt with appropriately. Often agencies will have officers specifically assigned to ensure professional standards of competence. These “Internal Affairs” or “Professional Standards” officers receive specific training on how to accomplish this task; however, with over half of the law enforcement agencies in the United States made up of fewer than 24 officers, many agencies lack the resources for these investigative specialists. Therefore, the duty of investigating these types of complaints is left to the shift supervisor.
Internal affairs investigations are unlike most other investigations and require a fact-finding approach and transparency to retain the public’s confidence and trust. An agency must demonstrate to the public and its members that only the highest ethical standards of law enforcement will be practiced by the agency and that the investigation of complaints follow established professional standards. The course is designed for all law enforcement officers.