LakelandPD Office of Professional Standards - Guardians of Integrity
We have recently been notified by a local media outlet that local law enforcement agencies and the Polk County School board will be requested to provide closed internal affairs cases each week. To ensure a fair understanding of the process for all of our Internal Affairs Cases, now called Administrative Investigations, below is a short brief on how our cases are processed.
In 2016 our department responded to 115,192 calls for service. During that time period, the Department initiated 42 Administrative Investigations due to citizen complaints or employee incidents. The nature of a complaint can range from allegations of level of employee conduct, employee traffic accidents, employee property damage or use of force. In 2015 our agency responded to 108,837 calls for service and initiated 39 Administrative investigations. Every complaint was thoroughly investigated. The number of Administrative Investigations equates to less than one tenth of one percent when compared to the number of calls for service each year.
Our Department expects the highest level of professionalism and integrity from all of our team members, both sworn and civilian. To ensure accountability and that our policies and procedures continuing to evolve with our changing times, the Office of Professional Standards, formerly known as Internal Affairs, was established.
The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) is responsible for investigating all complaints of misconduct against our Department or personnel. The division is made up of one office professional, two detectives, one sergeant and one lieutenant with an estimated 100 years of combined law enforcement experience and falls under the direct supervision of the Chief of Police. The team operates simply as fact finders, only looking for the truth. OPS does not recommend or administer any discipline.
Concluded Administrative Investigations are generally given to the first line supervisor to begin the process for the chain-of-command review. The first line supervisor will recommend if discipline is warranted or not and forward their findings to the remaining member’s in the chain-of-command. The chain-of-command will concur or not concur with the recommended discipline and forward the findings to the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police will review the recommendations from chain of command and make the final decision to impose or not to impose disciplinary action on the member. All discipline that includes suspension or termination must be approved by the City Manager.
Our agency is also committed to being transparent with all complaints and the findings. Every year the Office of Professional Standards publishes an annual report showing all of the statistical data and overview from the completed Administrative Investigations. You can view those reports at LakelandPD.com
We take every complaint seriously and want to ensure the public that we are committed to our officers and team members performing with the utmost professionalism.