Framework for Accountability in Criminal Investigations




Zientek, Dan

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Investigators in criminal investigation units are given great latitude with time management. They are expected to work cases thoroughly. However, it has been found that across the country cases occasionally fall through the cracks and are either worked inadequately or not worked at all. This has led to disciplinary actions including criminal indictments or termination of veteran officers. The public questions the integrity of investigation divisions, sometimes leading to costly lawsuits or not receiving the justice they count on. Many of these issues could have been avoided by requiring interaction between supervisors anFd investigators to keep abreast of open cases in the unit, setting goals, and identifying overburdened or problem employees. Identifying these issues leads to additional training or resources to help with larger and more demanding cases. Law enforcement agencies can avoid law suits, increase trust with the public, have better relationships with their employees, and have a more productive criminal investigation unit by adopting an accountability framework. Law enforcement should create procedures for accountability in criminal investigations that create communication every month between investigators and supervisors.


Criminal Investigation, Police Administration, Police--Community Relations