Monday, May 22, 2006

Who Watches..., II

A story in today's Jamestown Post-Journal (now somewhat available online) revisits an earlier post. I've heard far fewer rumors and allegations against the JPD than against other departments. With few exceptions, I typically find the officers to be professional when I'm dealing with them (and court security, a division of the department, are beyond good at their jobs). At the same time, I am a little wary of Chief Rater's response, which seemingly indicates complaints are handled internally on an ad hoc basis. "Internal" and "ad hoc", to me, aren't that far from the nod and smile of "Oh, that's just Mike."

In the end, this is mainly an issue of academic interest to me, dealing with Equal Protection and Due Process. I don't really get all fired up about it, have a "come back with a warrant" doormat or a 4th Amendment tee-shirt like a law school classmate. Legally, my interest is in "quality control" and implementing a system that works to assure fairness across the board. Does every department need an Internal Affairs staff, or is the answer a citizen oversight commission that takes/investigates complaints? Or am I being too nitpicky and a system like the JPD has works? Probably unanswerable questions, but those are the sort I like to think about.


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