Every Police Agency Differs On Internal Investigations
Every police agency follows a different set of steps when an officer's actions are called into question. Some, like the Michigan State Police, have an entire unit dedicated to internal investigations. Whether it's an employee complaining about another employee, or a citizen filing a complaint about an officer, the Michigan State Police take immediate action. The complaints go to a special Professional Standards Unit in Lansing. There they begin the paperwork, then conduct a series of interviews. Interviews are never done by the direct supervisor of the accused, to ensure accuracy and honesty. Within 90 days, the unit must make a decision to take action on the complaint or drop it. If a criminal act is in question, it must first go through the court system. A prosecutor can even direct another agency to handle the investigation. Erika Waddell and photojournalist Justin DePrekel have the story.