Disclosing Police Officer Untruthfulness to the Defense

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 Introduction

Truthfulness is one of the most crucial character foundations as far as effective police officers are concerned though there has been a growing frustration on what has seemed to be an extensive deficiency of integrity as well as lack of support for any disciplinary measures by appointed boards as well as politically elected members. The main root of all evil is as a result of lack of truthfulness either from uninspired working performance as well as excessive force. Integrity and ethics should be the main target and main issues to be considered during evaluation of any internal investigation. When the officers are truthful on misconduct, it is crucial to give them affirmative reinforcement through citing the case as being a mitigating factor. It is imperative to make it clear that lying among police officers is a major termination offense (Richard, 2004, pp. 164). This paper will hence analyze a case brought to my attention of an officer who used one of the computers in the patrol division inappropriately.

The case scenario

It has been brought to my attention by my Deputy Chief of Police that one of the officers who were investigated was inappropriately using one of the computers in the patrol division.  It was hence determined that the officer used the computer to search for pornographic web sites. When he was confronted with the contention, this officer denied of having any knowledge on this incident. On further investigation, the computer crime analyst determined on the fact that the officer log in password had been used to enter the unauthorized web sites. The officer hence admitted to the wrongdoing and affirmed that it would never happen any other time. This officer has been with my organization for 15 years and the only disciplinary action that was taken against him had been for being involved in a traffic accident 10 years ago.

Definitions and discussion

The police officers’ inappropriate use of the computer to view some sexually explicit information and material which are personal and unrelated to the officials job function is completely unethical. This can cause peoples lives to be immensely affected and hence the strict action as a warning to the rest of the officers. The department policy clearly states that the computers which are owned by the municipality should not be used for inappropriate and personal subjects. There is obviously no any room in the law enforcement for such kind of behavior and the only way to protect the integrity of the entire department is by terminating the officer as a future warning against such dubious actions.

The main risks for inappropriate use of the computers are the fact that it can lead to hostile lawsuits as well as drain the IT resources (Network world, 2003, pp. 58).  Pornography is also an infamous means used to entice the users to sites which are ripe as far as security risks are concerned for example viruses (Network world, 2003, pp. 58). There are restrictions on the state employees as far as access to the information infrastructure is concerned. The Code of Virginia 2. 2.2827 states that there is no any agency employee who is allowed to print, download, access or store information which contains contents that are sexually explicit (William & Barbara, 2006,  pp. 659).

The exculpatory evidence as well as the police officer are evidences and information which if they were to be believed can be materially highly approving to the defense as it can cause and contribute to reason beyond doubt to the guilt of the defendant. The police officer already has a record of untruthfulness as he lied of having knowledge on the alleged accusations of having used the computer inappropriately. In September 2007, Washington published its first opinion and held that any police officer who lied ought to b fully terminated in matters of public policy (West Publishing co., st Paul, 2001).

In this case the police officer ought to be terminated for the erratic behavior as well as untruthfulness. The police officer is not fit for duty because of concerns on his aptitude to go ahead and testify. For example in the case between Brady v. Maryland, the USA supreme court did rule that the prosecutor had to release information which was favorable to the accused on request (Mathew, 2010, pp. 544).   Therefore, if the police officer was to testify in any criminal proceeding, then the prosecutor would be ethically and legally obliged to disclose on any history concerning untruthfulness to the defense counsel. The main reason why I would terminate him is because his proven record of being dishonest totally prevents him from any useful service him being a law enforcement officer. Whether he apologized or not, to accept his reinstatement to any position of public trust where he will not serve will obviously violate the public policy.

In another case Moscow v. United Paper Workers International Union, it was recognized that the court can set any arbitration award incase the arbitration award in question created conflicts with the legal precedents and other laws (Desmond, 1998, pp. 277). The impact on this decision of public policy in Washington is the fact that the officers if they were found to be untruthful, then any appeal concerning their termination was limited on issues of whether the untruthfulness had been proven or not. If that was the case, then the judicial authority and arbitration panel was in no any position to reduce on the penalties.

I have put strict policies which are known to everyone and hence violation of the policies was intentional on the part of the police officers hence termination is the best remedial in this case. The other option is to put this officer who has impeachment problems in the administrative assignments in a position whereby there will never be a likelihood of him ever becoming a witness in any criminal case but obviously this will just be creating the liars squads. Refusal to terminate him will just employ a portion of some commissioned workforce who are unable to investigate and testify on crimes that are related to investigations.

In Giglio v United States, it was held that when reliability of a witness is either determined as innocent or guilty, the nondisclosure of any evidence that affects credibility hence falls within the rule of the fact that suppression of evidence does justify a trial irrespective of whether bad or good faith of the prosecution (John, Henry & Christopher. 2008, Pp. 83).  Therefore as a chief of police municipality, letting the police officer go scot-free will obviously implicate future proceedings as he already holds a record of untruthfulness thus making him incredible. In the United States v. Agurs, the court expended the rule and held that the prosecutors had a constitutional duty of turning over any exculpatory information to the defense counsel (Dean, 2005, pp. 433).  The court went a step further in Kyles v. Whitley and determined that the prosecutors had a duty to go ahead and learn on any favorable evidence which was clear to others and acted on behalf of the police (John, Henry & Christopher. 2008, Pp. 82).

There are so many cases that do condemn untruthfulness as well as dishonesty among the government employees. In the case of LaChance v. Erickson there were a number of government workers who were merged under the same decision (Zvi, Alan, Benjamin, Manfred & Jean.  2000, Pp. 522).   The underlying facts on one of the cases were described in the case of King v. Erickson. Erickson had been terminated for making some false statements and unbecoming conduct. His denials were hence determined to be untruthful. Therefore the supreme court in their unanimous decision affirmed on the ability of the agency to terminate Erickson for being untruthful and cited the case between Bryson v United States where the court held that the legal system offered methods of challenging the right of the government to go ahead and ask questions though lying was an exception (Zvi, Alan, Benjamin, Manfred & Jean.  2000, Pp. 526).  They held that a citizen can refute to answer the question or answer it with honesty but he ought not with impunity and in their right mind answer falsely.

In title 7 of section 7-294d of  Connecticut General Statute, it offers that any officer who have committed acts which would fabricate physical evidence or made any false statements in violation of particular state statutes they might have their certification revoked or cancelled (Alasco & Henry, 1899). The impact of all this is if any police officer is found to be intentionally lying in a way which does constitute the violation of such statutes, they hence will not be in a position to be hired as police officers in the entire state.

The major reasons for the final decision to terminate the employment of the officer is because of violations of section 5.2 of the regulations and rules of the police which requires all police officers to be truthful as well as section 2.3 of the police regulations and rules in regard to the unbecoming conduct of the police officer (Thomas, 2006, pp. 202).

Incase the commission through the preponderance of the entire evidence feels there was a reasonable and just cause for the police officer’s actions, then it shall go ahead and affirm the entire action and it will hence reverse the action returning the police officer to his initial position without having to lose rights or compensation. This will only happen if the police officer proves to all of us that the action was based on some harmful error.

On the first charge, the appellant knew very well that it was against the law and also the policies of the department to go ahead and use the computer inappropriately for his personal reasons. However he committed another crime by lying to the investigators that he had no any knowledge on the same. Unfortunately for him, his mendacity pervaded the investigation.

I have based the strict disciplinary actions on the evidence gotten and also on the fact that the appellant testified finally of having used the computers erroneously. I have found out that the officer had engages in an unbecoming conducts and he was untruthful. Though his prior disciplinary history was not quite serious, that however does not at all warrant him any mitigation of the penalties. The grave nature of these charges including being untruthful warrants the discipline to be strictly imposed by termination.

Conclusion

Untruthfulness and inappropriate use of the systems’ infrastructures can result to various sanctions against individuals involved in both criminal as well as administration. It ruins the reputation of the officer as well as their career and can damage the law enforcement agency’s aptitude to maintain confidence and public trust which is a major component of the law enforcement’s main mission. The law enforcers ought to be cognizant on the negative effects of untruthful officers as they can lead to great effect to the agency mostly as impeachable witnesses during criminal trials. Truthfulness and high morals should be touted as the main core values that administrators ought to emphasize on. There should be termination of employment of all officers that are found to be unreliable and untruthful. In addition to the termination of the employment I will make sure that the agency actively does support revocation of the law enforcement certification of the officers if they are found to be incredible or untruthful in their duties. Ethical violations by the departmental personnel’s mostly untruthfulness should be handled in a rational manner. When the ethics violation is sustained, the office involved ought to be disciplined including desertification and termination. The main fundamental cornerstone of all ethical policing is truthfulness in all conditions. The professional and personal integrity of all the law enforcement practitioners is the main mortar which does hold the cornerstone in its proper place and hence should never be compromised.

WE ACCEPT