POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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10 POLICE OCTOBER 2018 D ealing with a reprimand at work can be a very distress- ing situation. Sometimes we create the situation and sometimes the situation is created for us. Understanding that not all reprimands are created equal allows you to take a look at them honestly; you either deserved one or you didn't. Either way, it's best to develop a strategy so you are prepared if and when it happens. For the sake of this dis- cussion, we will assume that a reprimand is a formal type of discipline that stays in your work file and is available for scrutiny as a public record. THE PROCESS The process begins with some type of complaint. e com- plaint either comes from within or outside of your agency. Complaints will have to be deemed with or without merit. e only way to know which one is for the agency to initi- ate some type of inquiry, which is considered somewhat less than a full investigation. If the inquiry finds enough information that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that an agency policy may have been violated, the inquiry is raised to the level of an in- ternal affairs investigation. Depending on what your agen- cy's policies dictate, the investigation can be handled by your immediate supervisor, another supervisor, or a mem- ber of an internal affairs section. Regardless of who con- ducts the investigation, the standard for determining guilt in an administrative investigation involves the preponder- ance of evidence. e preponderance of evidence standard is very subjec- tive (opinion based) instead of being objective (fact based). In other words, the decision on how to evaluate evidence which will be used to determine your guilt or innocence is based on the investigator's opinion on their interpretation of events, using a 51% versus 49% probability format. Ad- ministrative investigations do not use the stronger criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. When you are made aware of a complaint against you deemed to have merit, you should have a strategy ready. HOW TO SURVIVE A REPRIMAND If you find yourself facing possible discipline, there are steps you can take to best handle the situation. How To... AMAURY MURGADO

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