IA: Mary Hancock v. Chief Mike Baker

In any case the CEO must make sure that the investigating authority has a copy of the department’s policy and procedures and has a good understanding of them. Once this is accomplished you can have a fair and impartial investigation.


Baker contended that he was protected from liability under the clause of official immunity.  Under Texas law is an affirmative defense “from the performance of their (1) discretionary duties in (2) in good faith as long as they are (3) acting within their scope of authority “.

The court determined that the facts were favorable to Hancock.  Baker could not prove that the Texas statutes for the discharge of a police officer were over whelming enough to grant qualified immunity.

What does this mean to internal affairs investigations and command staff?  One solution would be to know specifically what another agency’s policies are before the polygraph.  The agent here was acting under his policies.  If those polices require Miranda and a signed release you need to know it. 

If that cannot be overcome then you should hire an independent polygrapher or use one internally.  Most state agencies are looking strictly from the aspect of a criminal investigation.  Therefore, they are not concerned with the internal end of a case.

You can bring in someone from another jurisdiction to do the internal for you or hiring an independent investigator may be in order.  If you have made all attempts at reasonable accommodation for both sides then you are on safe ground.  In any case the CEO must make sure that the investigating authority has a copy of the department’s policy and procedures and has a good understanding of them.  Once this is accomplished you can have a fair and impartial investigation.

 

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About The Author:

Randy Rider began his career with the Douglas County Sheriff office, Georgia in 1974. He received several promotions eventually to investigations. His areas of expertise are extensive having worked crimes from petty theft to murder. In 1983 he became employed with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice as an investigator, promoted to Principal Investigator. He eventually moved into the Internal Affairs Unit as an investigator and as a supervisor.

Rider was elected President of the National Internal Affairs Investigators Association in 2005 and stepped down in 2010 having served five years. He is currently the Chaplain of the organization.

He is employed with the Public Agency Training Council one of the largest police training organizations in the country. Rider travels the country teaching officers on internal investigations of corrections facilities and first line supervisors on investigations of citizen’s complaints. He has experience is police audits.

Over the course of his career he has conducted hundreds of investigations concerning abuse, neglect, and use of force by law enforcement officers. Additionally, he has years of experience in custodial investigations, including numerous investigations involving the highly prevalent but seldom reported cases of inmate on inmate abuse. He has conducted investigations of police personnel for acts of misconduct.

A member of the IACP he worked with the organization on the document “Building Trust between the Police and the Citizens They Serve.” Currently he is an advisor on the Leading by Legacy program. He is an advisor to the International Chiefs of Police and the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services.

Randy is a columnist for Officer.com as the internal affairs author. He published the weekly NIAIA newsletter for five years. He currently publishes the 'riderreport' a police newsletter.

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