Disciplinary Assignment Part 2
Subject: Truthfulness policy
The issue of truthfulness in law enforcement offices and consequences of employing officers who have a history lying has been outlined by the Supreme Court in several cases. In the case Brady v. Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution. Furthermore, this policy has been clarified in the subsequent cases. In Giglio v. United States, the Supreme Court made it obligatory for the prosecution to share the information, which may be discriminatory to the government witnesses. In United States v. Agurs, the Supreme Court made disclosure of the above-mentioned information to be compulsory even without request of prosecution. It is evident that a law enforcement officer or any other government employee with a record of lying acknowledges a liability and may undermine the credibility of governmental witnesses.
The work of a police officer revolves around observing, investigating, and then documenting results with the utmost truth and objectivity. Thus, it is obvious that work of law enforcement agents is not compatible with lying. IACP Law Enforcement Code of Ethics includes the pledge, I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust...
Unfortunately it has come to my attention that one of the officers was caught using the departments computer in an inappropriate manner. When presented with the facts and conclusion of investigation regarding this incident, the officer retaliated by dismissing the information and accusations. However, it was later proven that the officer used his log-on password to access pornographic websites. Confronted with the cold facts, the officer admitted his guilt.
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Even though this case might seem unimportant and misconduct to be minor, I consider it to be of utmost importance and in need of immediate resolution. The problem lies not within the fact that the officer used his work computer inappropriately but within the fact of him lying about it and giving false testimony. This makes the officer unable to be a credible governmental witness thus making him unusable in the field. In order to control the consequences and possible repercussions of such misconduct, I have decided to implement a zero tolerance policy towards untruthfulness in this department.
Discharging of an employee is a very difficult subject. According to Police Chief Magazine, it can be traumatic for both the employer and employee and sometimes even for the local community. That is why I have decided to forego the termination of the officer in question, and everybody else who might be involved in a similar case, as long as it is not criminal and does not involve external investigation. However, it does not mean that my policy shoud be taken lightly.
Every officer caught on record lying or being generally untruthful in regards to a professional subject will be taken of field duty and will not be involved in any matter, which might result in the possibility of testifying in court. This is applied to all the past, present, and future cases. The second part of my policy involves going through trainings and classes, which will be beneficial for the teamwork and honesty inside the department. Everyone employed in this department will have to go through this. In addition, I will be recommending my fellow Chiefs of Police to do the same in order to minimize the consequences and possibilities of similar situations.
I believe that cooperation and clear guidelines as well as the knowledge of such cases can prevent them. However, we have to implement strict policies because we cannot afford ourselves employing half of our officers in the administrative part of the department. Thus if the officer is caught twice or is believed to be dishonest, I will not hesitate to fire him. We, as the law enforcement, are the basis of legality in our society. It is our duty to be honest and objective. I hope this is the first and the last time I will have to deal with a situation like this.
Full name of the Chief of Police.