Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Internal Affairs Audit

After quite some time, the Police Executive Research Fund (PERF) has returned with their audit of the Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit (IAU). Recall that the MPD did not initially want to use PERF - they wanted to enter into a no-bid contract with a law firm they've worked with in the past - but chose them after I convinced my colleagues to require that they go out for a Request for Proposals.



After the presentation the Public Safety and Regulatory Services (PS&RS) committee received from PERF and IAU yesterday, I must say I'm impressed with the depth of PERF's analysis and the quality of their 28 recommendations for improving IAU. Some are quite intriguing, such as the recommendation that IAU be physically moved out of City Hall, and not co-housed at any police precinct, to help complainants feel more comfortable in coming forward.



The fear with good reports like these is that they will sit on a shelf somewhere, and that the recommendations that might be difficult to implement, or take some time, will be gradually forgotten. To make sure that doesn't happen in this instance, yesterday I made a motion directing MPD staff to come back to PS&RS on February 25th, and then on a quarterly basis, to report on progress made toward implementing all 28 recommendations. The motion also directed MPD to include the PERF recommendations in their Results Minneapolis reports.



To be clear, the intent of this staff direction is not to say that absolutely every recommendation must be implemented. However, I believe it's important that the MPD come to the Council to enumerate the reasons for not implementing any of the recommendations, rather than quietly dismissing them. At the end of this process, my goal is to have some sort of formal action on every recommendation: implementation or a clear decision not to implement, based on some very good reasons that have been vetted and accepted by the Council.

To the departments credit they have already established a work group that will be reviewing the recommendations. The group includes staff from the Civil Rights Department as well as two civilians.

Here are the PERF recommendations, taken out of the report and put into a more usable format for those of you who appreciate more details.

Below are two lists. The first is a list of just the bolded text of each recommendation. The second is all of the text included in each.


1) The Internal Affairs Unit should report directly to the Chief of Police or Assistant Chief.

2) Experienced sergeants should be selected to fill positions within the Internal Affairs Unit. Incentives should be established to recruit top-quality candidates for this important assignment. Internal Affairs sergeants are responsible for conducting investigations into internal and external allegations of misconduct against members of the department.

3) The makeup of the Internal Affairs Unit should be ethnically diverse.

4) New investigators should be required to attend a basic internal affairs investigation course within six months of their assignment to IAU.

5) Continuing education and training should be required of internal affairs investigators on an annual basis.

6) IAU cases should be assigned within five business days of receipt of the complaint and prioritized by their seriousness.

7) The department’s practice of handling anonymous complaints should be modified and developed into a formal departmental policy.

8) The department should conduct further educational efforts to inform the community about how to file a complaint against a member of the department.

9) Complainants should be kept apprised of the progress of their complaint.

10) The department should continue its recent practice of reclassifying Category “A” Policy/Procedure Inquiry (PPI) as “Coaching Documentation.”

11) A policy should be established mandating that internal affairs investigators sign an affidavit affirming that all statements, interviews, and facts in an investigation are truthful and reflect an accurate record of all evidence against the employee.

12) The Department should revise its current disciplinary matrix to describe in more detail specific violations and a range of disciplinary consequences for the accompanying behavior with mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The matrix should be periodically reviewed to ensure the level of discipline reflects current societal views and changes in the law.

13) The Department should publish a personnel order, minimally on a quarterly basis, that lists the behavior and disciplinary action taken against members of the department without naming the employee.

14) Adopt a Mediation Program for minor complaints against an employee when there is a clear policy violation of a type that the Police Chief has determined is more appropriate for mediation that for formal disciplinary action.

15) The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the local prosecutor’s office to consult on matters that require a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, and prosecution of an employee during an internal affairs investigation.

16) All IAU investigations and processes should be centralized in one secured computer system and database, rather than in multiple computers and paper-driven systems that are unconnected to each other and that include only informal tracking processes.

17) Confidentiality of Internal Affairs investigations should be a duty requirement of those assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit. Breach of this trust should result in disciplinary action and reassignment from the unit.

18) The police department should move the Internal Affairs Unit to an off-site location.

19) Provide additional interviews rooms that are sound resistant for internal affairs investigations.

20) The department should abide by a 45-day goal for the completion of an internal affairs investigation with a formal provision for extensions.

21) The department should move to complete its implementation of an Early Intervention System (EIS).

22) The department should develop a policy and practice of random employee drug testing and seek to eliminate the requirement of having a second representative confirm the suspicion prior to conducting a drug test on an employee.

23) The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the Investigations Bureau specifying that their personnel will assist in sensitive investigations that require special knowledge, specialized training, undercover work, or covert assistance.

24) A written directive should be included in the Internal Affairs Manual that specifies the conditions during an IA investigation, when medical or laboratory examinations are administered; photographs of employees are taken; an employee can be directed to participate in a line-up; a financial disclosure statement is required; and the use of instruments for the detection of deception are administered.

25) The department should establish a staff inspections function.

26) Staffing of the Internal Affairs Unit should be increased by two sergeants.

27) Establish a consistently applied consequence for failure to return the disciplinary action on an IAU investigation within the 30-day time limit.

28) The Minneapolis Police Department should endeavor to comply with the requirement to complete its review of the Civilian Police Review Authority’s (CRA) “routine” complaint investigations and report Observations to the CRA Board within 60 days of receipt of the report.

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1) Recommendation: The Internal Affairs Unit should report directly to the Chief of Police or Assistant Chief. The Minneapolis Police Department has a clearly defined vision, mission, and values statement that are built on the principles of employee excellence, diversity, human rights, honesty, integrity, and community collaboration. The Chief of Police is the most visible public figure of the police department and is the person entrusted with the protection of civil liberties and ensuring that the agency is viewed by the community with trust, respect, and honor. Criminal and administrative misconduct by police officers undermines the relationship a police department has with its community. The purpose of an internal affairs function is to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints of police misconduct. The nature and sensitivity of an internal affairs investigation justify that the Internal Affairs Unit provide information and report to the top of the agency. Ideally this would be the Chief of Police. However, in large agencies where the day-to-day operations of the department are shared with, or relegated to, an Assistant Chief, this level of direct supervision for the internal affairs function is also appropriate.

2) Recommendation: Experienced sergeants should be selected to fill positions within the Internal Affairs Unit. Incentives should be established to recruit top-quality candidates for this important assignment. Internal Affairs sergeants are responsible for conducting investigations into internal and external allegations of misconduct against members of the department. It is important that IAU personnel have a wide range of supervisory experience and investigative knowledge to draw upon when making judgments on whether the actions of an employee constitute a violation of policy. Without such a base of skills, the credibility of the unit may be suspect. The department should create an environment in which an assignment to the IAU is seen as having a positive impact on one’s career. Incentives should accompany this important and difficult assignment to attract quality candidates. Examples of inducements used by other agencies include: assignment pay, take-home vehicles, consideration in promotional processes, and selection to a choice assignment upon completion of a commitment to the IAU.

3) Recommendation: The makeup of the Internal Affairs Unit should be ethnically diverse. It is important for members of minority groups both within the department and in the community to have confidence in the Internal Affairs process. One element that impacts the level of confidence in the department’s ability to objectively investigate allegations of misconduct is the inclusion of minority-group staff members assigned to the unit.

4) Recommendation: New investigators should be required to attend a basic internal affairs investigation course within six months of their assignment to IAU. The legal, administrative, and technical requirements of an internal affairs investigation require that newly assigned investigators attend, at minimum, a basic internal affairs investigation course. Completion of the training should occur as soon as possible. Competent and well-trained investigators are a key to determining the role, extent, and scope of police misconduct within a police agency, and investigators must be properly trained.

5) Recommendation: Continuing education and training should be required of internal affairs investigators on an annual basis. Constantly changing legal and administrative policies and practices require that internal affairs investigators receive the latest and most up-to-date training available. Retraining of internal affairs investigators, along with other development opportunities such as membership in state and national professional associations, provides IAU members with professional growth and the sharing of ideas with colleagues regarding investigative policies and practices. Membership in the National Internal Affairs Association and similar state organizations as well as subscriptions to related publications can also be of value to investigators.

6) Recommendation: IAU cases should be assigned within five business days of receipt of the complaint and prioritized by their seriousness. The prompt assignment of citizen complaints should be a top priority of the IAU. The Minneapolis Police Conduct Incident Report Form states that the complainant will be contacted within five business days by an Internal Affairs investigator upon receipt of the complaint. Citizen complaints that are not investigated in a timely manner affect the citizen’s trust and confidence in the police department. Criminal complaints and the most serious policy violations should be assigned immediately. And all other complaints should be assigned within five business days of their receipt.

7) Recommendation: The department’s practice of handling anonymous complaints should be modified and developed into a formal departmental policy. The integrity of the police department and its personnel and operations depends on receiving and investigating any and all allegations of misconduct, regardless of the manner, method, or source of the information. Even though anonymous complaints can be complicated and difficult to validate, every effort should be made to look into such allegations before dismissing the accusation because the complainant refuses to sign a sworn statement. The determining factor as to whether an anonymous complaint should be investigated is the presence or absence of investigative leads, rather than exclusively the seriousness of the allegation. Minnesota Statute 626.89, PEACE OFFICER DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES ACT, a state law that governs the disciplinary procedures for peace officers in the state, provides in section 626.89 (5) that “Complaints stating the signer’s knowledge also may be filed by members of the law enforcement agency.” PERF’s analysis of the statute suggests that IAU investigators can file a complaint on behalf of an anonymous complainant against a member of the police department when the validity and knowledge of the complaint can be validated.

8) Recommendation: The department should conduct further educational efforts to inform the community about how to file a complaint against a member of the department. Information regarding filing a complaint against a member of the Minneapolis Police Department as well as forms in multiple languages are available at headquarters and all the precinct stations along with various organizations previously noted. Information for filing a complaint is also available on the department’s Web-page. Despite these efforts, some members of the community who met with PERF did not know how to file a complaint or where they could get information on the subject.

9) Recommendation: Complainants should be kept apprised of the progress of their complaint. In an effort to keep a complainant informed of the progress of their report, the Internal Affairs investigator assigned to the case should make contact with those filing a complaint against a member of the department to provide an update on the investigation.

10) Recommendation: The department should continue its recent practice of reclassifying Category “A” Policy/Procedure Inquiry (PPI) as “Coaching Documentation.” Currently, relatively minor category “A” allegations are not handled in a disciplinary manner, unless the behavior of the employee continues and the re-occurrence is then categorized as a “B” violation for which disciplinary action may be taken. Sustained allegations cannot be grieved, and all documentation is removed from the employee’s working file after one year. By redefining these incidents as “coaching documentation,” supervisors may better monitor employees’ non-disciplinary behavior and ensure that employees adhere to policies and procedures. These infractions may be handled informally in the manner the department intends. These coaching opportunities should continue to be documented by supervisors and monitored and reviewed by the Internal Affairs Unit. It is necessary to continue assigning an Internal Affairs number to these incidents for tracking and record keeping purposes. In order to maintain consistency within the department and establish confidence among the public, the department must maintain working knowledge of such cases to identify trends or officers requiring coaching.

11) Recommendation: A policy should be established mandating that internal affairs investigators sign an affidavit affirming that all statements, interviews, and facts in an investigation are truthful and reflect an accurate record of all evidence against the employee.

12) Recommendation: The Department should revise its current disciplinary matrix to describe in more detail specific violations and a range of disciplinary consequences for the accompanying behavior with mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The matrix should be periodically reviewed to ensure the level of discipline reflects current societal views and changes in the law. Annually, the department should review all disciplinary action within the past year and ensure that similar discipline has been imposed for similar infractions. This will identify situations – for further review – that were outside the norm and will demonstrate how the executive staff views the severity of different types of misconduct. (An example of such a disciplinary matrix from the Denver Police Department is included as an appendix to this report).

13) Recommendation: The Department should publish a personnel order, minimally on a quarterly basis, that lists the behavior and disciplinary action taken against members of the department without naming the employee. Included in the order should be information such as:
• The rank, race, and gender of the officer
• The charge(s) sustained
• Any mitigating circumstances (prior events, other aggravating circumstances)
• The discipline imposed

14) Recommendation: Adopt a Mediation Program for minor complaints against an employee when there is a clear policy violation of a type that the Police Chief has determined is more appropriate for mediation that for formal disciplinary action. Mediation is an informal process done in a private and non-threatening setting, with a trained mediator who works to resolve a citizen’s complaint against an employee. Mediation is voluntary; the employee and complainant must agree to the process, or the policy violation investigation continues, including discipline if warranted.

15) Recommendation: The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the local prosecutor’s office to consult on matters that require a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, and prosecution of an employee during an internal affairs investigation. Such a protocol provides a direct communication link for the IAU investigator to discuss a criminal investigation. This should be conducted at the beginning stages of an investigation and mindful of Garrity safeguards. The prosecutor can advise on the appropriate criminal charge and/or the requirements for a search warrant. The prosecutor can help identify the probable cause to secure an arrest warrant or search warrant. Many times a prosecutor will have direct access to a judge to sign either court action.

16) Recommendation: All IAU investigations and processes should be centralized in one secured computer system and database, rather than in multiple computers and paper-driven systems that are unconnected to each other and that include only informal tracking processes.

17) Recommendation: Confidentiality of Internal Affairs investigations should be a duty requirement of those assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit. Breach of this trust should result in disciplinary action and reassignment from the unit. A large amount of trust is placed on commanders and investigators given the difficult assignment of Internal Affairs. This trust cannot be betrayed, or the credibility of the unit and investigations may be jeopardized.

18) Recommendation: The police department should move the Internal Affairs Unit to an off-site location. The Internal Affairs Unit is presently located in the Police Department within City Hall. The office suite is located near the offices of the Chief of Police and command staff. Admittance into the secured inner office is gained from an exterior office.

19) Recommendation: Provide additional interviews rooms that are soundresistant for internal affairs investigations. The nature and sensitivity of police misconduct investigations require that confidentiality be maintained throughout the process. Interview rooms should be sound-resistant so that conversations between investigators and those being interviewed cannot be overheard by anyone not involved in the investigation. Adequate sound-resistant interview rooms should be readily available to conduct multiple IAU investigations.

20) Recommendation: The department should abide by a 45-day goal for the completion of an internal affairs investigation with a formal provision for extensions. Internal affairs investigations should be completed in a reasonable time. Delays in the investigative process undermine the trust of the public and affect the morale of the personnel in the police department. The department recognizes the need to keep internal investigations on track, but in many instances investigations have been drawn out for too long. In keeping with its desire to adopt best professional standards, the department should abide by CALEA Standard 52.2.3, which states that agencies should “[specify] a time limit for completing an internal affairs investigation, with provisions for extensions.”

21) Recommendation: The department should move to complete its implementation of an Early Intervention System (EIS). Many police departments, including Minneapolis, recognize that law enforcement personnel encounter various situations that are dangerous. The way in which personnel handle these challenges can identify underlying problems. Problems that remain unchecked can escalate to negative behaviors. Officers are often transferred and promoted to different areas of the agency, so at times supervisors can be unfamiliar with those under their command. This can include a lack of familiarity with past and present concerns about an officer. Police departments should be alerted to problems in an officer’s behaviors that signal a need for additional training, counseling, or if necessary corrective action. An Early Intervention System (EIS) is a proactive program designed to identify personnel who are involved in various types of incidents, such as use of force, vehicle pursuits, or allegations of misconduct, as well as positive indicators such as commendations. It can further track other associated indicators such as the number of arrests an officer makes, citations, motor vehicle stops, pedestrian stops, the officer’s training history, voluntary overtime worked, sick time usage not protected by federal, state or local law, sick leave taken in conjunction with normal days off (suggesting improper use of sick leave to “extend a weekend”), and charges of resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer in the performance of their duties. The department then applies reasonable thresholds or “triggers” to initiate an alert that an employee should be evaluated to determine if there is reason to bring the employee into the formal EIS process. Each indicator is given an associated value which is measured against the threshold. When the alert is sent, it is the responsibility of the employee’s precinct or division commander to sit down with the officer and determine if the intervention options of policy/procedure review, remedial training, or psychological counseling are needed. The officer could be referred to an employee assistance program if necessary. The review session is documented in the precinct or division files, with a notation of what action was taken. The officer’s immediate supervisor is made aware of any intervention recommended, and reports any unusual behavior by the officer to the precinct or division commander. A review of the interventions that were implemented is conducted on an annual basis, and a quarterly report on any trends or problems that arise in the EIS is prepared for the Chief of Police. The Minneapolis Police Department has expressed its intention to implement an early Intervention System. Some eighteen months ago, the agency began taking several preliminary and positive steps toward that goal including: performing a research and literature review on similar systems; surveying approximately 25 police departments on their practices; conducting a site visit to the Phoenix Police Department; briefing command staff; hiring an employee to be a part-time analyst for the EIS system; purchasing software for Internal Affairs that will support an EIS; holding preliminary discussions with the police officers’ federation; and establishing a Core Committee to assist in the implementation. When the “Twin Cities” were chosen to be the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention, the Minneapolis Police Department became involved in the enormous undertaking of planning, coordinating, implementing, and assessing a National Special Security Event. Understandably, resources were devoted to this project, which became the department’s highest priority. Implementing programs such as an EIS were put on hold until the successful conclusion of the convention. The department may now recommit resources to the development and implementation of an Early Intervention System.

22) Recommendation: The department should develop a policy and practice of random employee drug testing and seek to eliminate the requirement of having a second representative confirm the suspicion prior to conducting a drug test on an employee. Adopting random drug testing may allow the department to provide assistance to an employee in need of support and treatment. Random drug testing also can help give the community and administration confidence that members of the Minneapolis Police Department are not engaging in the use of illegal substances.

23) Recommendation: The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the Investigations Bureau specifying that their personnel will assist in sensitive investigations that require special knowledge, specialized training, undercover work, or covert assistance.

24) Recommendation: A written directive should be included in the Internal Affairs Manual that specifies the conditions during an IA investigation, when medical or laboratory examinations are administered; photographs of employees are taken; an employee can be directed to participate in a line-up; a financial disclosure statement is required; and the use of instruments for the detection of deception are administered.

25) Recommendation: The department should establish a staff inspections function. The staff inspections function provides an in-depth review of all components of the police agency. CALEA Standard 53.2.1 states, “The role of staff inspections is to promote an objective review of agency administrative and operational activities, facilities, property, equipment, and personnel outside of the normal supervisory and/or line inspections.” Information produced during an announced or unannounced inspection provides the Chief of Police with critical insight into what is going right and what is going wrong within the police department. Some observations may serve as the basis for an internal affairs investigation. Included in this additional role of the IAU should be the comprehensive review of police activities, including all use-of-force incidents and vehicle pursuits.

26) Recommendation: Staffing of the Internal Affairs Unit should be increased by two sergeants. At the time of the PERF site visit, there were six sergeants assigned to the IAU responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of police officer misconduct. Mid-year 2008 case assignment figures reflect a significant increase (60 percent) in case investigations as well as increased workload related to an active role in responding to critical incidents. Furthermore, PERF recommends that the IAU assume additional responsibilities such as staff and inspectional functions, investigating anonymous complaints, reviewing and reporting on use of force and vehicle pursuits, and oversight of an Early Intervention System (EIS). This will require adding two positions to the unit. Additional staffing of two sergeants, for a total of eight, will also allow for more thorough and timely investigations where warranted.

27) Recommendation: Establish a consistently applied consequence for failure to return the disciplinary action on an IAU investigation within the 30-day time limit. The failure to comply with the 30-day period to respond to an IA report should have consequences unless extenuating circumstances are confirmed and result in an approved extension. At present, there are few consequences for not returning the investigation in a timely manner. The Chief of Police should reconfirm his expectations and be clear that continued disregard for the established time-frames will result in action against commanders who are consistently late. Thereafter, consistency in actions taken is essential.

28) Recommendation: The Minneapolis Police Department should endeavor to comply with the requirement to complete its review of the Civilian Police Review Authority’s (CRA) “routine” complaint investigations and report Observations to the CRA Board within 60 days of receipt of the report. Once the police department receives an investigated complaint from the CRA, the department should determine the appropriate sanction and report that finding to the Board within 60 days of receiving the completed investigation.

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