Should Police Officers Hesitate to Come Forward About Misconduct?

Following the incident with Christopher Dorner, the LAPD has decided to further investigate employment reviews that have lead to employee termination. As the world is well-aware by now, Dorner was fired by the LAPD after filing a claim that his training officer was exhibiting misconduct on the job. The investigation that took place following this claim determined that Dorner was lying about these allegations. He was fired from the LAPD, and according to his now infamous manifesto, his termination is what lead to his vendetta against law enforcement.

While many members of the public are outraged that his case, as well as others are being re-opened as a result of Dorner’s actions, many support this LAPD initiative. Corruption, violence (unreasonable force), and racism has been substantiated in the LAPD’s history. Police Chief Beck believes that re-investigating cases is necessary to maintain their integrity.

Over the past couple of weeks, former LAPD employees have requested that their termination records be re-reviewed. Others have claimed that they were fired due to reporting fellow officers of misconduct. If these theories can be substantiated (and even if they cannot), it does leave some members of law enforcement questioning whether or not it is worthwhile to come forward if they believe another officer is guilty of misconduct. Making reports is important for a number of reasons, even though no officer likes to put another’s job at risk:

  • Reporting misconduct maintains the integrity of the police force, as cops are disciplined for incidents that occur.
  • Reporting misconduct ensures that a cop that fails to report it does not share responsibility if the issue comes to light in another way.
  • Cops that report misconduct are doing their job duties to protect public safety.

In order to protect themselves when filing a misconduct report, cops should ensure that they record all details about the incident. This means promptly writing down the date, time, location of the incident, and any other relevant details about what occurred. If a witness was present and their contact information can be obtained subtly, that can also help substantiate a claim. Officers can also consider recording the incident to offer evidence to those that will investigate the case.

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