Internal Affairs within a Police Department

The internal affairs office of a police department is designed to ensure proper conduct and obedience to the law from all police officers on the force. Those working within this department are responsible for investigating any suspicion of lawbreaking or misconduct from those working for the police department. They are also in charge of making sure all officers on the force are informed of new regulations and that those regulations are followed and maintained. Because of the sensitive nature of the cases involved within the internal affairs office, individuals most often report all findings directly to the chief or head personnel of the police department.

    It is important that a police department have within it a working internal affairs office. This helps ensure that there are no cops gone bad operating within the department. Any suspicion of foul play from an officer can be reported to the internal affairs office anonymously or in person depending on the department. Some police stations have online web complaint forms available as well. It is important to note that a complaint can be filed by a member of the police force or by a citizen of the community. There are some police departments that have chosen to allow private citizens within the community to sit on the board or on a committee of the internal affairs office to help ensure there are no biases in the review of each case.

    As seen on television shows such as Law and Order, some internal affairs offices and their employees are referred to as the rat squad because of the nature of their work. No police officer wants to investigate a fellow officer and find the individual guilty of breaking the law, violating employment codes, and most of all hurting the reputation of the department. However, this position is vital to ensure the checks and balance system of those enforcing the law. Citizens are often reassured and hold their local police department at a higher level of respect just knowing there is an internal affairs office working to ensure everyone in the department and in the community whether guilty or innocent is treated fairly.


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