Sent on 10/11/2017 11:01:35 AM
The number of citizen complaints are down for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department when comparing the data from the previous year. In all, complaints were down 25.1% through August of 2017. The number of sustained complaints were also down during the same period. This comes as deputies are encouraged to be proactive and responsive to violations of the law, and while the Pima County Adult Detention Center continues to house inmates at nearly 90 percent capacity. In March 2017, newly elected Sheriff Mark D. Napier shared his vision regarding changes to the internal affairs process for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD). Sheriff Napier’s direction was to revise the process so that mistakes by employees were separated from allegations of misconduct. The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) revamped the process to include an “Incident Performance Review” whereby mistakes, lesser policy violations, or minor performance issues are now referred to the employee’s chain of command for review, disposition, and corrective action if deemed appropriate. The majority of complaints received by the agency are often based on the performance of our employees. Typically, these do not include allegations of misconduct, but rather involve mistakes with little or no operational impact to the community. When allegations of misconduct are brought forth, they are fully investigated as a formal complaint. Additionally, a bottom up decision making process was introduced allowing an employee’s chain of command, beginning at the supervisor level, to weigh in on suggested actions after a formal investigation. This is a reverse concept of the historical top down driven process. The supervisor is often in the best position to leverage what is in the best interest of the agency and employee. The action still routes through the chain of command to the Sheriff who has final oversight of the process. Further, the OPS is now staffed with all sergeants, from both corrections and commissioned ranks, who act as investigators for all formal administrative investigations. This not only allows for a comprehensive review of the facts, but leans on the experience and perspective of a supervisor. Finally, a discipline application chart has been established that provides reasonable predictability of actions based on the level of conduct. The reduced number of complaints does not correlate to the tweak in the investigation process. The fact the total number of complaints and number of sustained complaints are trending downward stands alone. This indicates the men and women of the PCSD respond with a high level of professionalism. We strive to deliver a quality work product and hold ourselves accountable to the highest degree.