Standard 1-1.1. Complexity of police task

(a) Since police, as an agency of the criminal justice system, have a major responsibility for dealing with serious crime, efforts should continually be made to improve the capacity of police to discharge this responsibility effectively. It should also be recognized, however, that police effectiveness in dealing with crime is often largely dependent upon the effectiveness of other agencies both within and outside the criminal justice system. Those in the system must work together through liaison, cooperation, and constructive join effort. This effort is vital to the effective operation of the police and the entire criminal justice system

(b) To achieve optimum police effectiveness, the police should be recognized as having complex and multiple tasks to perform in addition to identifying and apprehending persons committing serious criminal offenses. Such other police tasks include protection of certain rights such as to speak and to assemble, participation either directly or in conjunction with other public and social agencies in the prevention of criminal and delinquent behavior, maintenance of order and control of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, resolution of conflict, and assistance to citizens in need of help such as the person who is mentally ill, the chronic alcoholic, or the drug addict.

(c) Recommendations made in these standards are based on the view that this diversity of responsibility is likely to continue and, more importantly, that police authority and skills are needed to handle appropriately a wide variety of community problems.


Standard 1-1.2. Scope of standards

To ensure that the police are responsive to all the special needs for police services in a democratic society, it is necessary to:

(a) identify clearly the principal objectives and responsibilities of police and establish priorities between the several and sometimes conflicting objectives;

(b) provide for adequate methods and confer sufficient authority to discharge the responsibility given them;

(c) provide adequate mechanisms and incentives to ensure that attention is given to the development of law enforcement policies to guide the exercise of administrative discretion by police;

(d) ensure proper use of police authority;

(e) develop an appropriate professional role for and constraints upon individual police officers in collective bargaining and political activity;

(f) provide police departments with human and other resources necessary for effective performance;

(g) improve the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health, and public health systems of which the police are an important part;

(h) gain the understanding and support of the community; and

(i) provide adequate means for continually evaluating the effectiveness of police services.


Standard 1-1.3. Need for experimentation

There is need for financial assistance from the federal government and from other sources to support experimental and evaluative programs designed to achieve the objectives set forth in these standards.



Standard 1-2.1. Factors accounting for responsibilities given police

The wide range of government tasks currently assigned to police has been given, to a great degree, without any coherent planning by state or local governments of what the overriding objectives or priorities of the police should be. Instead, what police do is determined largely on an ad hoc basis by a number of factors which influence their involvement in responding to various government or community needs. These factors include:

(a) broad legislative mandates to the police;

(b) the authority of the police to use force lawfully;

(c) the investigative ability of the police;

(d) the twenty-four-hour availability of the police;

(e) community pressures on the police; and

(f) court decisions.


Standard 1-2.2. Major current responsibilities of police

In assessing appropriate objectives and priorities for police service, local communities should initially recognize that most police agencies are currently given responsibility, by design or default, to:

(a) identify criminal offenders and criminal activity and, where appropriate, to apprehend offenders and participate in subsequent court proceedings;

(b) reduce the opportunities for the commission of some crimes through preventive patrol and other measures;

(c) aid individuals who are in danger of physical harm;

(d) protect constitutional guarantees;

(e) facilitate the movement of people and vehicles;

(f) assist those who cannot care for themselves;

(g) resolve conflict;

(h) identify problems that are potentially serious law enforcement or governmental problems;

(i) create and maintain a feeling of security in the community;

(j)) promote and preserve civil order; and

(k) provide other services on an emergency basis.


Standard 1-2.3. Need for local objectives and priorities

While the scope and objectives of the exercise of the government’s police power are properly determined in the first instance by state and local legislative bodies within the limits fixed by the Constitution and by court decisions, it should be recognized that there is considerable latitude remaining with local government to develop an overall direction for police services. Within these limits, each local jurisdiction should decide upon objectives and priorities. Decisions regarding police resources, police personnel needs, police organization, and relations with other government agencies should then be made in a way that will best achieve the objectives and priorities of a particular locality.


Standard 1-2.4. General criteria for objectives and priorities

In formulating an overall direction for police services and in selecting appropriate objectives and priorities for the police, communities should be guided by certain principles that should be inherent in a democratic society:

(a) The highest duties of government, and therefore the police, are to safeguard freedom, to preserve life and property, to protect the constitutional rights of citizens and maintain respect for the rule of law by proper enforcement thereof, and, thereby, to preserve democratic processes.

(b) Implicit within this duty, the police have the responsibility for maintaining that degree of public order which is consistent with freedom and which is essential if our urban and diverse society is to be maintained.

(c) In implementing their varied responsibilities, police must provide maximum opportunity for achieving desired social change by freely available, lawful, and orderly means.

(d) In order to maximize the use of the special authority and ability of the police, it is appropriate for government, in developing objectives and priorities for police services, to give emphasis to those social and behavioral problems which may require the use of force or the use of special investigative abilities which the police possess. Given the awesome authority of the police to use force and the priority that must be given to preserving life, however, government should firmly establish the principle that the police should be restricted to using the amount of force reasonably necessary in responding to any situation.


Standard 1-2.5 Role of local chief executive

In general terms, the chief executive of a governmental subdivision should be recognized as having the ultimate responsibility for the police department and, in conjunction with the police administrator and the municipal legislative body, should formulate lawful policy relating to the nature of the police function, the objectives and priorities of the police in carrying out this function, and the relationship of these objectives and priorities to general municipal strategies. This will require that a chief executive, along with assuming new responsibilities for formulating overall directions for police services, must also:

(a) insulate the police department from inappropriate pressures, including such pressures from the chief executive’s own office;

(b) insulate the police department from pressures to deal with matters in an unlawful or unconstitutional manner; and

(c) insulate the police administrator from inappropriate interference with the internal administration of the police department.





Standard 1-3.1. Alternative methods used by police

The process of investigation, arrest, and prosecution, commonly viewed as an end in itself, should be recognized as but one of the methods used by police in performing their overall function, even though it is the most important method of dealing with serious criminal activity. Among other methods police use are, for example, the process of informal resolution of conflict, referral, and warning. The alternative methods used by police should be recognized as important and warranting improvement in number and effectiveness; and the police should be given the necessary authority and resources to use them under circumstances in which it is desirable to do so.


Standard 1-3.2. Avoiding overreliance upon criminal law


The assumption that the use of an arrest and the criminal process is the primary or even the exclusive method available to police should be recognized as causing unnecessary distortion of both the criminal law and the system of criminal justice.


Standard 1-3.3. Legislative concern for feasibility of criminal sanctions

Within the field of criminal justice administration, legislature should, prior to defining conduct as criminal, carefully consider whether adequate authority and resources exist for police to enforce the prohibition by methods which the community is willing to tolerate and support. Criminal codes should be reevaluated to determine whether there are adequate ways of enforcing the prohibition. If not, noncriminal solutions to all or a portion of the problem should be considered, or the criminal justice system should be strengthened to enable it to enforce the prohibition.


Standard 1-3.4. Need for clarified, properly limited authority to use methods other than the criminal justice system

There should be clarification of the authority of police to use methods other than arrest and prosecution to deal with the variety of behavioral and social problems which they confront. This should include careful consideration of the need for and problems created by providing police with recognized and properly limited authority and protection while operating thereunder:

(a) to deal with interferences with the democratic process. Although it is assumed that police have a duty to protect free speech and the right to dissent, their authority to do so is unclear, particularly because of the questionable constitutionality of may statutes, such as the disorderly conduct statutes, upon which police have relied in the past;

(b) to deal with self-destructive conduct such as that engaged in by persons who are helpless by reason of mental illness or persons who are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. Such authority as exists is too often dependent upon criminal laws which commonly afford an inadequate basis to deal effectively and humanely with self-destructive behavior;

(c) to engage in the resolution of conflict such as that which occurs so frequently between husband and wife or neighbor and neighbor in the highly populated sections of the large city, without reliance upon criminal assault or disorderly conduct statutes;

(d) to take appropriate action to prevent disorder such as by ordering crowds to disperse where there is adequate reason to believe that such action is required to prevent disorder and to deal properly and effectively with disorder when it occurs; and

(e) to require potential victims of crime to take preventive action such as by a legal requirement that building owners follow a burglary prevention program similar to common fire prevention programs.


Standard 1-3.5. Developing alternative responses

The development of alternatives to investigation, arrest, and prosecution should be the responsibility of the entire community and not of the police alone. However, the police should inform the community of the need for such alternatives within their area of responsibility. The choice among alternative responses should be based on a careful assessment of effectiveness in dealing with social problems.





Standard 1-4.1. Exercise of discretion by police

The nature of the responsibilities currently placed upon the police requires that the police exercise a great deal of discretion — a situation that has long existed but is not always recognized.


Standard 1-4.2. Need for structure and control

Since individual police officers may make important decisions affecting police operations without direction, with limited accountability, and without any uniformity within a department, police discretion should be structured and controlled.


Standard 1-4.3. Administrative rule making

Police discretion can best be structured and controlled through the process of administrative rule making by police agencies. Police administrators should, therefore, give the highest priority to the formulation of administrative rules governing the exercise of discretion, particularly in the areas of selective enforcement, investigative techniques, and enforcement methods.


Standard 1-4.4. Method of policy making

In its development of procedures to openly formulate, implement, and reevaluate police policy as necessary, each jurisdiction should be conscious of the need to effectively consult a representative cross-section of citizens in this process.

Police officers, as individuals and as a group, have a proper professional interest in and can make significant contributions to the formulation and continuing review of local law enforcement policies within individual communities. Methods should be developed by police administrators, therefore, to ensure effective participation in the policy-making process by all ranks including the patrol officer who, because of daily contact with operational problems and needs, has unique expertise to provide on law enforcement policy issues.


Standard 1-4.5. Contribution by legislatures and courts

To stimulate the development of appropriate administrative guidance and control over police discretion, legislatures and courts should actively encourage police administrative rule making.

(a) Legislatures can meet this need by delegating administrative rule-making responsibility to the police by statute.

(b) Courts can stimulate administrative development in several ways, including the following:

(i) Properly developed and published police administrative policies should be sustained unless demonstrated to be unconstitutional, arbitrary, or otherwise outside the authority of police.

(ii) To stimulate timely and adequate administrative policy making, a determination by a court of a violation of an administrative policy should not be the basis for excluding evidence in a criminal case unless the violation of administrative policy is of constitutional dimensions or is otherwise so serious as to call for the exercise of the superintending authority of the court. A violation per se should not result in civil liability.

(iii) Where it appears to the court that an individual officer has acted in violation of administrative policy or that an administrative policy is unconstitutional, arbitrary, or otherwise outside the authority of the police, the court should arrange for the police administrator to be informed of this fact, in order to facilitate fulfillment by the police administrator of his or her responsibility in such circumstances to reexamine the relevant policy or policies and tot review methods of training, communication of policy, and supervision and control




Standard 1-5.1. Need for accountability

Since a principal function of police is the safeguarding of democratic processes, high priority must be given for ensuring that the police are made fully accountable to their police administrator and to the public for their actions.


Standard 1-5.2. Need for positive approaches

Control over police practice should, insofar as possible, be positive, creating inducements to perform properly rather than concentrating solely upon penalizing improper police conduct. Among the ways this can be accomplished are:

(a) education and training oriented to the development of professional pride in conforming to the requirements of law and maximizing the values of a democratic society;

(b) inducements to police officers in terms of status, compensation, and promotion, on the basis of criteria that are related as directly as possible to the police function and police goals;

(c) elimination of responsibilities where there is a community expectation that police will “do something” but adequate lawful authority is not provided. Either the needed authority should be given or the police should be relieved of the responsibility;

(d) systematic efforts by prosecutors and judges to encourage conforming police behavior through:

(i) a more careful review of applications for warrants;

(ii) formulation of new procedures to simplify and otherwise provide easy access for judicial review of applications for warrants, thereby encouraging maximum use of the formal warrant process; and

(iii) formally advising the police administrator when improper police conduct is detected, in order to facilitate corrective action.

(e) recognition by legislatures and courts of police discretion, clarification of police authority to develop administrative policies to control police actions, and the requirement that police do develop such policies; and

(f) effective involvement of the community in the development of police programs.


Standard 1-5.3. Sanctions

(a) Current methods of review and control of police activities include the following sanctions:

(i) the exclusion of evidence obtained by unconstitutional means;

(ii) criminal and tort liability for knowingly engaging in unlawful conduct;

(iii) injunctive actions to terminate a pattern of unlawful conduct; and

(iv) local procedures for handling complaints against police officers, procedures which usually operate administratively within police departments.

(b) Legislatures should clarify the authority of police agencies to develop substantive and procedural rules controlling police authority – particularly regarding investigatory methods, the use of force, and enforcement policies – and creating methods for discovering and dealing with abuses of that authority. Where adequate administrative sanctions are in effect, evidence obtained in violation of administrative rules should not be excluded in criminal proceedings.


Standard 1-5.4. Tort liability

In order to strengthen the effectiveness of the tort remedy for improper police activities, governmental immunity, where it still exists, should be eliminated, and legislation should be enacted providing that governmental subdivisions shall be fully liable for the actions of police officers who are acting within the scope of their employment. Neither tort liability nor costs attendant to the defense of a tort action should be imposed upon a police officer for wrongful conduct that has been ordered by a superior or is affirmatively authorized by police rules or regulations unless the conduct is a violation of the criminal law. Instead, liability and incidental costs and expenses in such cases should be borne by the governmental subdivision.




Standard 1-6.1. Collective interest of police officers and limitations thereon

(a) Police officers have a proper collective interest in many aspects of their job such as wages, length of work week, and pension and other fringe benefits. To implement this interest, the right of collective bargaining should be recognized. However, due to the critical nature of the police function within government, legislation should provide that there shall be no right to strike. Effective alternatives to the right to strike should be made available as methods bv which police officers can pursue their collective interest; and model procedures governing this important matter should be developed.

(b) The right of police to engage in collective action, however, should be subject to the following limitations:

(i)The preservation of governmental control over law enforcement policymaking requires that law enforcement policy not be the subject of collective bargaining.

(ii) The need to preserve local control over law enforcement and over the resolution of law enforcement policy issues requires that law enforcement policy not be determined by a police union or other police employee organization.

(iii) The maintenance of police in a position of objectivity in engaging in conflict resolution requires that police not belong to a union which also has nonpolice members who may become party to a labor dispute.

(iv) The maintenance of proper control by the police administrator over the department requires that collective action not interfere with the administrator’s ability effectively to implement the policies and objectives of the agency.

(v) The potential for conflicts between the collective interests of line employees and supervisory and management personnel requires that, where feasible, separate bargaining units be required for these classes of employees.


Standard 1-6.2. Political activity by police officers

Police officers share the individual right to engage in political and other protected first amendment activity. However, police should not use their authority or the indicia of office, such as the uniform, for this purpose because of their possible coercive effect, nor should they engage in political activity which compromises their ability to act objectively in conflicts with which they may be called upon to deal. Because the police need broadly based community support in order to function effectively, police officers should exercise restraint in engaging in partisan political activities, and candidates for public office should be discouraged from seeking political support from police associations, where to do otherwise would be divisive of the community. Police officers must be allowed to speak out on public issues and to criticize government officials. However, they should be prohibited from publicly criticizing their superiors or other public officials where such criticism would impair the effectiveness of the policy department.


Standard 1-6.3. Grievance procedures

For a number of reasons, including sound administration, morale, and the restrictions on public statements by police officers regarding their employers, police department should assure that internal mechanisms exist whereby an employee may obtain swift and impartial resolution of grievances. Employees should be required to use such procedures in lieu of public criticism of the police agency, their superiors, or fellow officers.




Standard 1-7.1. Important function of police officers on patrol duty

The nature of police operations makes the patrol officer a more important figure than is implied by the rank structure. The patrol officer exercises broad discretion in a wide array of situations, each of which is potentially of great importance, under conditions that allow for little supervision and review. Even with the controls recommended in these standards, in the interest of developing a police profession as well as in the interest of improving the quality of police operations generally, the patrol officer should understand the important and complex needs of policing in a free society and have a commitment to meeting those needs.


Standard 1-7.2. Recruitment

(a) In view of the broad diversity of the police role, experiments should be conducted which make use of different levels of entry for personnel and standards particularly relevant for the various levels. Such recruitment standards should be related directly to the requirements of various police tasks and should reflect a great degree of concern for such factors as judgmental ability, emotional stability, and sensitivity to the delicate and complicated nature of the police role in a democratic society. Police agencies should vigorously recruit police officer who will be reflective of the communities they serve. In developing recruitment programs, police agencies must be careful to maintain the quality of the service rendered with the community.

(b) College graduates should be encouraged to apply for employment with police agencies. Individuals aspiring to careers in police agencies and those currently employed as police officers should be encouraged to advance their education at the college level. Communities should support further educational achievement on the part of police personnel by adopting such devices as educational incentive pay plans and by gradually instituting requirements for the completion of specified periods of college work as a prerequisite for initial appointment and for promotion. To increase the number of qualified personnel, police departments should initiate or expand police cadet or student intern programs which subsidize the education and training of potential police candidates.


Standard 1-7.3. Training and education

(a) Training programs should be designed, both in their content and in their format, so that hte knowledge that is conveyed and the skills that are developed relate directly to the knowledge and skills that are required of a police officer on the job.

(b) Educational programs that are developed primarily for police officer should be designed to provide an officer with a broad knowledge of human behavior, social problems, and the democratic process.


Standard 1-7.4. Importance of police administrators

In addition to directing the day-to-day operations of police agencies, police administrators have the responsibility to exert leadership in seeking to improve the quality of police service and in seeking to solve community-wide problems of concern to the police. The position of police chief should be recognized as being among the most important and most demanding positions in the hierarchy of governmental officials.


Standard 1-7.5. Authority of police administrators

Police administrators should be held fully responsible for the operations of their departments. They should, therefore, be given full control over the management of their departments; and legislatures, civil service commissions, and employee associations should not restrict the flexibility that is required for effective management.


Standard 1-7.6. Qualifications for police administrators

In the screening of candidates to assume leadership roles in police agencies, special attention should be given to the sensitivity of the candidates to the peculiar needs of policing in a free society; to the degree to which the candidates are committed to meeting the challenges of achieving order within the restraints of the democratic process; to the capacity of the candidates to deal effectively with the complicated and important issues that police administrators must confront in the decision-making processes that affect police operations; and to the overall ability of the candidates to manage and direct the total resources of the agencies. Communities should employ the best-qualified candidates without regard to their present locations or departmental affiliations. Because of the fundamental importance of the objectives set forth in standard 1-10.1, police administrators should be given the necessary support, job security, and procedural safeguards to allow them to achieve these objectives.


Standard 1-7.7. Police department organization

More flexible organizational arrangements should be substituted for the semimilitary, monolithic form of organization of the police agency. Police administrators should experiment with a variety of organizational schemes, including those calling for substantial decentralization of police operations, the development of varying degrees of expertise in police officers so that specialized skills can be brought to bear on selected problems, and the substantial use of various forms of civilian professional assistance at the staff level.


Standard 1-7.8. Research

A research capability should be developed within police agencies that will aid police administrators in systematically formulating and evaluating police policies and procedures and that will equip administrators to participate intelligently in the public discussion of important issues and problems involving the police.


Standard 1-7.9. Need for in-house police legal advisory

Given the nature of the police function, police administrators should be provided with in-house police legal advisers who have the personal orientation and expertise necessary to equip them to play a substantial role in the planning and in the development and continual assessment of administrative policies and training programs. The police legal adviser should be an attorney appointed by the police administrator or selected by the administrator from an existing governmental unit.


Standard 1-7.10. Relationship of legal adviser to police administrator

In view of the important and sensitive nature of the role, a police legal adviser or the head of a police legal unit should report directly to the police administrator. The relationship of a police legal adviser to a police department should be analogous to that of house counsel to a corporation. The police legal adviser should provide independent legal advice based upon a full understanding of the police function and upon legal expertise, and should anticipate as well as react to legal problems and needs.


Standard 1-7.11. Priority tasks for legal advisors

Among the range of tasks that may be performed by police legal advisers, priority should be given to assisting police administrators in:

(a) formulating the types of administrative policies that are recommended in these standards;

(b) developing law-related training programs pertinent to increased understanding of the nature of the police function, of departmental policies, of judicial trends and their rationale, and of the significant role of the police in preserving democratic processes;

(c) formulating legislative programs and participating in the legislative process;

(d) maintaining liaison with other criminal justice and municipal agencies on matters primarily relating to policy formulation and policy review, and assessing the effectiveness of various agencies in responding to common legal problems; and

(e) developing liaison with members of the local bar and encouraging their participation in responding to legal problems and needs of the police agency.



Standard 1-8.1. Relationship of the criminal justice and other systems to the quality of police service

(a) To the extent that police interact with other governmental systems such as the criminal justice, juvenile justice, and public and mental health systems, police effectiveness should be recognized as often largely dependent upon the performance of other agencies within these systems.

(b) For these standards to be of value in the criminal justice system, other parts of the system must operate, as a minimum, in such a manner that:

(i) Criminal cases are speedily processed;

(ii) Prosecutors and judges carefully review applications for warrants and use simplified procedures and otherwise provide easy access for impartial review of applications for warrants;

(iii) the lower trial courts, especially in the larger cities, are conducted in a dignified and orderly manner, considerate of and respectful toward all the participants; and

(iv) sentencing alternatives and correctional programs are as diversified and effective as possible.




Standard 1-9.1. Contribution of the legal profession

Members of the legal profession should play an active role, individually and collectively, in developing local government policies relating to the police, in supporting needed changes in the form of police services, and in educating the total community on the importance and complexity of the police function. Among other things, each local bar association should appoint a special committee with which the police administrator can confer as to appropriate means of achieving objectives proposed in these standards.


Standard 1-9.2. Responsibility of educational institutions

Educational institutions should undertake research and teaching programs which provide understanding of the complex social and behavioral problems which confront urban police.


Standard 1-9.3. The news media

Public understanding of the police function is heavily dependent upon the coverage given by mass media to the newsworthy events in which the police are involved. Newspaper, radio, and television reporters assigned to reporting on police activities should have a sufficiently thorough understanding of the complexities of the police function to enable them to cover such events (as well as other matters that now go unreported) in a manner that promotes the public’s understanding of the police role.


Standard 1-9.4. Openness by police

Police should undertake to keep the community informed of the problems with which they must deal and the complexities that are involved in dealing with them effectively. Police agencies should cooperate with those who seek an understanding of police operations by affording opportunities for interested citizens to acquaint themselves with police operations and by providing access to the accumulation of knowledge and experience that the police possess.


Standard 1-10.1 Measure of police effectiveness

The effectiveness of the police should be measured generally in accordance with their ability to achieve the objectives and priorities selected for police service in individual communities In addition, the effectiveness of police should be measured by their adherence to the principles set forth in standard 1-2.4. This means that, among other things, police effectiveness should be measured in accordance with the extent to which the police:

(a) Safeguard freedom, preserve life and property, protect the constitutional rights of citizens, and maintain respect for the rule of law by proper enforcement thereof, and, thereby, preserve democratic processes;

(b) develop a reputation for fairness, civility, and integrity that wins the respect of all citizens, including minority or disadvantaged groups;

(c) use only the amount of force reasonably necessary in responding to any given situation;

(d) conform to rules of law and administrative rule and procedures, particularly those which specify proper standards of behavior in dealing with citizens;

(e) resolve individual and group conflicts; and

(f) refer those in need to community resources that have the capacity to provide needed assistance.

Traditional criteria such as the number of arrests that are made are inappropriate measures of the quality of performance of individual officers. Instead, police officers should be rewarded, in terms of status, compensation, and promotion, on the basis of criteria defined in this standard which directly relate to the objectives, priorities, and essential principles of police service.


Standard 1-10.2 Responsibility of society and government generally

The recommendations made in these standards require particular attention at the level of municipal government. Along with the recommendations relating specifically to police agencies, however, it should be recognized that police effectiveness is also dependent, in the long run, upon:

(a) the ability of government to maintain faith in democratic processes as the appropriate and effective means by which to achieve change and to redress individual grievances; the willingness of society to devote resources to alleviating the despair of the culturally, socially, and economically deprived; and

(c) the improvement of the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health, and public health systems as effective ways of dealing with a wide variety of social and behavioral problems, such as improvements in programs to provide assistance to citizens in need of help such as the person who is mentally ill, the chronic alcoholic, or the drug addict.

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