Reporting Concerns About Fellow Officers

The general public often likes to portray police officers as something other than human. But, it is important to recognize that all people make mistakes, and that includes officers. When you spot such issues in fellow officers, you need to determine if the issues are big enough to report – are they circumstances of simple human error or incidence?

According to an article on PoliceLink, most officers would be reluctant to report a case of officer misconduct, without at least knowing what specific example of misconduct according (based on a hypothetical situation). But what are the options?

  • Tactical intervention – this is the term used for talking out an issue officer to officer, when bad behavior has been witnessed. It can be a moment of bonding, but it can also be perceived as confrontational. There is a right way to approach a tactical interventions so that it is effective. It is a skill that is often taught to officers on the force.
  • Look the other way – if there is a true case of officer misconduct, then looking the other way truly shouldn’t be among the options. But as it is what many officers choose to do, unfortunately, it is. While it can reduce conflict among officers, it doesn’t help reduce the likelihood of bad behavior.
  • Report the issue – if you have witnessed office misconduct, another option is to bring it to a supervisor. However, it would appear some officers do not trust that the issue will be appropriately dealt with, or that they will be seen as ratting on a fellow officer. The reality is that it is still the best approach for an ethical officer, particularly in more extreme cases.
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