The Gainesville Police Department is accountable for the acts and omissions of all its employees. To that end, an obligation exists to our employees, the Department, and the citizens of our community to investigate allegations of misconduct or substandard performance.
The purpose of an internal investigation is to determine the facts as accurately as possible. Every employee shall cooperate fully in Departmental investigations. They will provide any and all information that may be pertinent in conducting the investigation.
The Gainesville Police Department is committed to conducting fair and impartial internal investigations on behalf of both the employee and the citizens of the City of Gainesville. The disposition of each case is based on an evaluation of the facts disclosed during the investigation.
An internal investigation can occur whenever it is alleged that an employee’s conduct or behavior violates Department policy, procedure, rule, regulation, or training procedure.
Internal Affairs Process
The objectives of an internal investigation are to:
- Factually establish what happened.
- Determine if Department personnel were involved in a violation of Department policy.
- Determine whether the conduct or behavior was intentional or unintentional.
- Determine if the conduct was the result of an action or inaction by the employee.
- Determine the reasonableness and basis of the employee's actions and evaluate any explanation given.
- Uncover and preserve all pertinent facts and evidence so that they may be used to determine the proper disposition of allegations against Department personnel.
- Determine if a Department Policy failure has occurred.
- Internal investigations will be specifically directed and narrowly related to performance of duties within the scope of the member's employment and fitness to hold the position.
The following process occurs after a complaint has been filed:
- All formal citizen complaints are referred to the Internal Affairs Division, including those complaints made at the Equal Opportunity Department (EOD).
- An Administrative Investigation Referral Form is completed to initiate a formal complaint and investigation.
- A letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint is sent to the complainant by the Inspector of Police.
- All formal complaints are received, coordinated, and processed by the Internal Affairs Division. However, minor complaints may be assigned to Bureau Commanders for investigation.
- The complainant may be interviewed if necessary, either at the Police Department or at a location mutually agreed upon if desired.
- An investigator/supervisor is assigned to conduct a preliminary investigation.
- The investigator/supervisor gathers existing documentation and submits it to the Inspector of Police for review.
- The Inspector evaluates the preliminary information to determine if the complaint indicates possible misconduct.
- If, after reviewing the preliminary investigation, the Inspector determines that the evidence reflects that no employee misconduct occurred, he/she shall forward the documentation to the Chief of Police for review.
- If the Chief agrees with the Inspector’s findings, the Inspector will forward, in writing, the disposition of the complaint to the complainant and the subject of the investigation.
- If the Inspector determines in a review of the facts that possible employee misconduct occurred, an investigation will be initiated.
- The assigned investigator/supervisor will conduct interviews of the involved subjects and witnesses, and gather all pertinent documentation.
- The investigator/supervisor shall complete a detailed investigative report. Anyone may submit relevant evidence during the investigation.
- The completed investigation is then forwarded to the Inspector for review. The Inspector determines if misconduct has occurred.
- The Inspector prepares a disposition and forwards it to the subject’s Bureau Commander for review.
- If a complaint is classified as “sustained,” the Bureau Commander and the Inspector will make a recommendation for discipline and will sign the report signifying agreement with the facts as outlined in the report.
- The completed investigation is then forwarded to the Chief of Police for final approval. The Chief reviews the information and approves the disposition, and the Inspector will forward a letter to the complainant outlining the results of the investigation.
- If the recommendation by the Inspector is that the complaint be classified as "exonerated", "unfounded", "not sustained", or "not involved", the complainant may make objections in writing or in person at the Internal Affairs Division or at the EOD.
- If the complaint was filed through the EOD, the complainant will be contacted by the EOD Director to ensure the complainant understands the investigation and to assist the complainant if additional information is needed.
Each allegation in a complaint is judged according to the following categories:
- SUSTAINED – The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove some or all of the allegations made in the complaint.
- NOT SUSTAINED – The investigation failed to discover sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation(s) made.
- EXONERATED – The investigation reveals that the acts did occur, but the actions taken were justified, lawful and proper.
- UNFOUNDED – The investigation indicated that the alleged act(s) did not occur.
- NOT INVOLVED – The investigation established that the Department member subject to the complaint was not involved in the alleged incident.
- POLICY REVIEW - The investigation reveals that there is a need to modify an existing policy/procedure or to implement one.