GENERAL ORDER #18-03: EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
Effective Date: 11/01/2018
The purpose of this written directive is to establish an Early Warning System as per Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2018-3.
It is the policy of this department to implement an Early Warning System. The system will identify, reward, and promote professionalism, civil rights, integrity, best practices, as well as identify, intervene, and remediate potentially problematic behavior allowing for timely intervention consistent with the risk management procedures promulgated by the New Jersey State Attorney in its Internal Affairs Policies and Procedures. This written directive is in accordance with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive No. 2018-3
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
- The Early Warning System (EWS) is designed to detect patterns and trends before the conduct escalates into more serious problems. As such, employees must understand that the early warning system is not discipline. Although it is possible that disciplinary action may be taken as the result of evidence that rules and regulations were violated, this is not the sole or even primary intent of the system. The primary intent of an early warning system is to address potential poor performance through the use of appropriate management and supervisory strategies before discipline is warranted.
- Many different measures of employee performance (actions or behaviors) can be regularly examined for patterns or practices that may indicate potential problems. These performance measures shall include, but are not limited to, the following documented indicators:
- Internal complaints, whether initiated by another employee or by a member of the public and regardless of outcome; (NOTE - This information is ONLY accessible to the Chief of Police and the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit)
- Civil actions filed against an officer, regardless of outcome; (NOTE - This information is ONLY accessible to the Chief of Police and the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit)
- Criminal investigations or complaints made against an employee; (NOTE - This information is ONLY accessible to the Chief of Police and the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit)
- Any use of force by an officer that is formally determined or adjudicated to have been excessive, unjustified or unreasonable;
- Domestic violence investigations in which the employee is an alleged subject;
- An arrest of an employee, including on a driving under the influence charge;
- Sexual harassment claims against an employee;
- Vehicular collisions involving an officer that is formally determined to have been the fault of the officer;
- A positive drug test by an officer;
- Cases or arrests by the officer that are rejected or dismissed by a court;
- Cases in which evidence obtained by an officer is suppressed by a court;
- Insubordination by the officer;
- Neglect of duty by the officer;
- Unexcused absences or sick time abuse;
- Any other indicators, as determined by the agency’s chief executive.
- Generally, three (3) instances of questionable conduct or performance indicators (as listed in section B, above) within a 12-month period would initiate the early warning system process.
- If one incident triggers multiple performance indicators, that incident shall not be double or triple counted, but instead shall count as only one performance indicator.
- Early Warning Review
- The early warning review process is primarily the responsibility of the Internal Affairs Unit, but any supervisor may initiate the early warning review process based upon his/her own observations. Emphasis should be placed on anticipating employee problems before it results in improper performance or conduct.
- The Internal Affairs Unit shall monitor employee’s performance to determine if an employee has the emergence of a pattern, practices or trend of inappropriate behavior or misconduct.
- If the EWS indicates the emergence of a pattern, practices or trend of inappropriate behavior or misconduct, the Internal Affairs Unit shall consult with the employee’s supervisor and/or commander.
- The Internal Affairs Unit and the employee’s supervisor and/or commander shall review the information provided by the Internal Affairs Unit along with any other relevant information from department records for the purpose of initiating a course of intervention designed to correct/interrupt the emerging pattern, practice or trend.
- If the EWS reveals that the employee has engaged in conduct, which indicates a performance deficiency or lack of understanding or inability to comply with accepted procedures, the supervisor shall consult with the Internal Affairs Unit to determine the appropriate course of remedial/corrective intervention.
- At least every six (6) months, internal affair’s personnel shall audit the agency’s tracking system and records to assess the accuracy and efficacy of the tracking system.
- An employee’s first line supervisor is usually the first member of the department to encounter and document specific incidents that affect an employee. It is essential for the supervisor to speak with the employee, document these incidents and report findings to their commander and if warranted, the Internal Affairs Unit. The success of this program relies heavily on the first line supervisor’s participation and involvement.
- If a supervisor has initiated remedial/corrective intervention, Internal Affairs shall be formally notified in writing.
- Command Personnel
- The commanders shall periodically review an individual employee's history. Using this information and his/her experience, the commander may be able to identify employees who may need remedial/corrective intervention even before such is indicated by the EWS.
- When under early warning system monitoring, an Internal Affairs Officer shall meet with the employee and supervisor to discuss the situation in depth to accomplish the following and thoroughly document the substance of these meetings.
- Identify problems or potential problems;
- Determine short and long-term goals for improvement;
- Come to a consensus commitment on a plan for long-term improved performance;
- Advise of the monitoring process and the repercussions of future sustained transgressions.
- Generally, personnel should expect to remain under intensive monitoring and supervision for at least three (3) months when an early warning flag is triggered or until the supervisor concludes that the employee’s behavior has been remediated (whichever is longer).
- Any statement made by the officer in connection with the early warning system review process may not be used against them in any disciplinary or other proceeding.
- Remedial/Corrective Intervention
- Supervisory or command personnel may initiate remedial/corrective intervention to correct behavior. Remedial/corrective intervention may include, but is not limited to:
- Intensive supervision;
- Fitness for duty examination;
- Employee Assistance Program, when warranted, if available;
- Peer counseling.
- Internal disciplinary action, remedial/corrective intervention, and fitness for duty examinations are not mutually exclusive and should be jointly pursued if and when appropriate.
NOTIFICATION TO SUBSEQUENT LAW ENFORCEMENT EMPLOYER
A. If any officer who is or has been subject to an Early Warning System review process applies to or accepts employment at a different law enforcement agency
than the one where he or she underwent the Early Warning System review process, it is the responsibility of the prior or current employing law enforcement agency to notify the subsequent employing law enforcement agency of the officer's Early Warning System review process history and outcomes. Upon request, the prior or current employing agency shall share the officer's Early Warning System review process files with the subsequent employing agency.
NOTIFICATION TO COUNTY PROSECUTOR
A. Upon initiation of the Early Warning System review process, the Chief of Police or a designee shall make a confidential written notification to the County Prosecutor or his/her designee of the identity of the subject officer, the nature of the triggering performance indicators, and the planned remedial program. Upon completion of the Early Warning System review process, the Chief of Police shall make a confidential written notification to the County Prosecutor or his/her designee of the outcome of the Early Warning System review, including any remedial measures taken on behalf of the subject officer.
PUBLIC ACCESSIBILITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
A. The Early Warning System policy shall be made available to the public upon request and shall be posted on the agency website.