On the second night of the citizens police academy, Chief Rodney Hill led a discussion covering the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Internal Affairs Unit, the complaint process, the disciplinary process, and various legal aspects of the job (Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, and legal training).
There was so much information from this one class that I broke it up into multiple posts. In this one, I go over the various units that make up the OPR and most notably Internal Affairs. Subsequent posts will cover how/where to file complaints against officers, the disciplinary process (what happens once a complaint is filed), the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR), and finally, what kind of legal training officers receive. These were just from the first half of the evening. After that, I’ll cover what we learned about gangs in the Baltimore area.
Chief Hill described the structure of the various units within the department. This will help you understand how to navigate the complaint process as well as understand some of the policies and procedures involved.
If a visual is more helpful, here is a useful (and more involved) flow chart of the departments that will give you more context.
First off, anyone may file a complaint against an officer, even third parties. Complaints would then be investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
Within the OPR are 3 main sections, each with their own subsections.
The Internal Affairs Unit has 5 separate sections:
- General Investigations-these include investigations of excessive force, allegations of theft, and general misconduct
- Special Investigation Response Team (SIRT)-covers police involved shooting, use of force cases that have resulted in hospitalization
- Ethics Unit- Serious criminal investigations involving surveillance and arrests
- FBI Federal Task Force-Investigates public corruption
- Body Worn Cameras/Accidents/Pursuits
The Command Investigation Section includes:
- Command Investigation Unit (CIU)-involved in minor misconduct and loss off equipment
- Administrative Unit-all administrative matters
- Courts Summons Unit-this is a new unit focused on making sure officers receive their summonses to appear in court
- Office of Administrative Hearings-provides officers with their right to a hearing for discipline
- Court Liaison-monitors court attendance
The Equal Opportunity and Diversity Section (EODS)-this section is responsible for handling position statements from the Federal, State, and local EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) offices.
If a visual is more helpful, here is a useful (and more involved) flow chart of the departments that will give you more context when you are filing a complaint against an officer.
Now that we understand the general make up of the OPR, we can better understand where and how to file a complaint and what we could expect in the process.