The West Columbia
Police Department and the public expect all personnel to maintain high
standards of appearance and conduct. The
mission of the department is to work with all members of the community to
preserve life, maintain human rights, protect property, and promote individual
responsibility and community commitment.
departmental expectations for on and off-duty personal behavior. This order applies to all employees both
sworn and non-sworn.
III. CODE OF ETHICS
shall display the integrity required by the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics:
As a law
enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to
safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the
weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or
disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality,
I will keep
my private life unsullied as an example to all and will behave in a manner that
does not bring discredit to me or my agency.
I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn or
ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of
others. Honest in thought and deed in
both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in obeying the law and
the regulations of my department.
Whatever I see or hear of a confidential nature or that is confided to
me in my official capacity will be kept ever secret unless revelation is
necessary in the performance of my duty.
I will never
act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, political beliefs,
aspirations, animosities, or friendships to influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with
relentless prosecution of criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and
appropriately without fear or favor, malice, or ill will, never employing
unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public
trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of police service. I will never engage in acts of corruption or
bribery, nor will I condone such acts by other law enforcement officers. I will cooperate with all legally authorized
agencies and their representatives in the pursuit of justice.
I know that
I alone am responsible for my own standard of professional performance and will
take every reasonable opportunity to enhance and improve my level of knowledge
constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself
before God to my chosen profession . . . law enforcement.
A. Affirmative Duty: The personal responsibility and obligation of an
employee to report wrongdoing— rather than to provide such information only when
B. False Report: A report that is not made in good faith, based on information
that is known or reasonably likely to be inaccurate; intentionally or
negligently ignores exculpatory or mitigating information; or made with the
purpose of harassing or wrongly incriminating another employee.
C. Good Faith: A report that provides allegations concerning an employee who is
reasonably believed to have purposely committed a serious violation of
departmental policy, procedures, rules, or laws.
D. Retaliation: Retaliation of the following kinds is designed to serve as
retribution against an employee who, in good faith, has filed a complaint
against another employee. In the context of this policy, retaliation includes
any deliberate, purposeful actions or failures to act, directed against
employees that cause, or that could reasonably be expected to cause, physical
harm, property damage, significant emotional stress, or otherwise negatively
affect another employee’s terms or conditions of employment or that could
seriously impair the efficiency, safety or effectiveness of that employee, this
department, or both. Such adverse actions may take many forms, including but
not limited to, bullying; persistent offensive comments, threats, or
intimidation; false accusations; isolating; ostracizing; or acts that malign or
disparage an individual’s reputation.
E. Serious Acts of Misconduct: Deliberate acts or failures to act that could reasonably form
the basis for significant disciplinary action against an employee. Such disciplinary
action would be reasonably likely to adversely affect that employee’s terms or
conditions of employment up to and including termination of service.
V. GENERAL DUTIES
A. All officers shall, within jurisdictional limits,
prevent crime, preserve the peace, protect life and property, detect and arrest
violators of the law, and enforce the laws of the United States, the laws of
the State of Texas, and all local ordinances, according to the rules,
regulations, and general orders of the department. Officers must know that when they act under
color of law, they are enforcing the law according to statutes, written
administrative guidance in the department, ordinances, common usage, and
custom. Further, officers shall exhibit
good moral character in the administration of their duties according to
B. The department maintains the right to establish
oral and written orders to govern and control the efficiency, effectiveness,
and safe operation of law enforcement.
Officers shall be trained in the rules and expectations of professional
conduct prior to assuming law enforcement duties.
C. Management reserves the prerogative to discipline
personnel for violations of the rules listed in this order as well as
violations of all departmental orders and directives. The decision to discipline and the measure of
discipline employed depend on the rule or law violated the consequences of the
employee's actions, and the employee's prior history and experience.
D. Duty to Report
1. All employees of this department have an
affirmative duty to report serious acts of misconduct or failures to perform
actions, defined in departmental policy, procedures, and rules. Failure to
report shall result in corrective or disciplinary action.
2. Acts of retaliation against employees who make
good faith complaints or disclosures of misconduct against another employee are
strictly forbidden. Such acts will form the basis for charges of misconduct
resulting in serious disciplinary action.
3. All employees have an affirmative duty under this
policy to cooperate fully during the investigation of any allegation of
employee misconduct whether conducted by this department or another authorized
authority. Protection from retaliation is extended under this policy to all
employees who cooperate in good faith.
4. All complaints of retaliation shall be submitted
to any supervisor. If the supervisor is the subject of or is involved in the
complaint, an employee shall submit the complaint to the next higher ranking
employee in the chain of command.
5. In uncommon situations involving highly egregious
offenses or illegality that may have departmental or governmental implications,
a complaint may be made directly to the chief executive officer. Examples
include but are not limited to broad-based corruption, conspiracy among
employees, or offenses involving or including high-ranking officers or members
A. Performance Prohibitions
1. As appropriate, disciplinary action may be taken
for any of the following reasons:
a. Incompetent or inefficient performance or
dereliction of duty;
b. Insubordination, discourteous treatment of the
public or a fellow employee, or any act of omission or commission of similar
nature which discredits or injures the public.
(Insubordination may also consist of direct, tacit, or constructive
refusal to do assigned work.)
c. Mental or physical unfitness for the position
which the employee holds.
d. Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving
conduct amounting to moral turpitude (see III.A), or a pattern of misconduct as
displayed by series of misdemeanor convictions.
e. Failure to report to an appropriate superior
authority incompetence, misconduct, inefficiency, neglect of duty, moral
turpitude, or any other form of misconduct or negligence of which the employee
f. Failure of a supervisory employee to take
corrective action regarding employees under his or her supervision who may be
guilty of any form of neglect of duty or misconduct where the supervisor knows
or should have known of the dereliction.
2. Nothing in these rules and regulations limits the
charges against employees because the alleged act or omission does not
specifically appear in this manual, other orders or policies of the department,
or in the laws or ordinances of which the department is responsible to enforce.
3. No member of the department shall be a member of
any organization which advocates the violent overthrow of the government of the
United States, the State of Texas, or any unit of local government, or
participate in any organization which has a purpose, aim, objective, or any
practices which are contrary to the obligations of a law enforcement officer
under these rules and regulations.
B. Obedience to Rules of Conduct, laws and orders
All employees, regardless of rank or assignment,
shall be governed by the following general rules of conduct. Violation of any of these rules by any
officer of the department shall be considered sufficient cause for dismissal,
demotion, suspension, or other disciplinary action.
to Laws. Employees shall abide by
the laws of the United States and the State of Texas as well as the ordinances
of the City of West Columbia.
to Departmental Rules. Employees
shall abide by the rules of the City Personnel Rules, and the Policy and
Procedure Manual and other properly issued internal directives of the Police
of Rules. Certain rules may not
apply in undercover police assignments specifically authorized by supervisors
in accordance with this Policy Manual.
Officers will be strictly accountable for justifying their actions.
4. Insubordination. Employees shall promptly obey all lawful
orders and directions given by supervisors and radio dispatchers. The failure
or deliberate refusal of employees to obey such orders shall be deemed
insubordination and is prohibited.
Flouting the authority of a supervisor by displaying obvious disrespect
or by disputing their orders shall likewise be deemed insubordination. (TBP: 1.08)
of Unlawful Orders. No commanding or
supervisory employee shall knowingly or willfully issue an order that violates
a federal or state law, a city ordinance, or a departmental rule or policy.
to Unjust or Improper Orders. If an
employee receives an order he believes is unjust or contrary to a departmental
General Order or rule, he must first obey the order to the best of his ability
and then may appeal the order to the Chief of Police via the proper
to Unlawful Orders. No employee is
required to obey an order that is contrary to the laws of the United States or
the State of Texas or the ordinances of the City of West Columbia. If an employee receives an unlawful order,
they shall report in writing the full facts of the incident and their actions
to the Chief of Police via the chain-of-command.
of Orders. If an employee receives
an order that conflicts with one previously given them by a supervisor, the
employee receiving the order shall respectfully point this out to the
supervisor who gave the second order. If
the supervisor giving the second order does not change the order in a way that
eliminates the conflict, the second order shall stand and shall be the
responsibility of the second supervisor.
If the second supervisor so directs, the second order shall be obeyed
first. Orders shall be countermanded
only when necessary for the good of the department.
C. Attention to Duty
of Duty. Employees shall be
attentive to their duties at all times, and shall perform all duties assigned
to them, even if such duties are not specifically assigned to them in any
departmental rules or procedures manual.
of Supervisors. Supervisors will
enforce the rules, regulations, and policies of the West Columbia Police
Department. They will not permit, or otherwise
fail to prevent, violations of the law, departmental rules, policies or
procedures. They will report violations of departmental rules, policies, or
procedures to their immediate superior without delay. Where possible, they will
actively prevent such violations or interrupt them as necessary to ensure
efficient, orderly operations.
and Behavior. Employees whether
on-duty or off-duty shall follow the ordinary and reasonable rules of good
conduct and behavior and shall not commit any act in an official or private
capacity tending to bring reproach, discredit, or embarrassment to their
profession or the department. Employees shall follow established procedures in
carrying out their duties as police officers and/or employees of the
department, and shall at all time use sound judgment.
to Serve the Public. Employees shall
promptly serve the public by providing direction, counsel and other assistance
that does not interfere with the discharge of their duties. They shall make
every attempt to respond to the inquiry or request for assistance themselves.
to Respect the Rights of Others. Employees
shall respect the rights of individuals, and shall not engage in
discrimination, oppression or favoritism. Employees shall maintain a strictly
impartial attitude toward all persons with whom they come in to contact with in
an official capacity.
6. Truthfulness. Members
shall be truthful in all official verbal and written communications and
reports. Employees will be truthful in
any court related testimony or agency investigations. Officers who are undercover or
conducting interviews or interrogations may find it necessary to provide
inaccurate information in order to maintain their cover or determine the
truthfulness or veracity of a subject.
Always Subject to Duty. Officers
shall at all times respond to the lawful orders of supervisors, and to the call
of individuals in need of police assistance.
The fact that they may be off-duty shall not relieve them from the responsibility
of taking prompt and proper police action or from being recalled to duty as
above shall not be construed to include enforcement of laws of a Class
"C" misdemeanor nature, or traffic offenses except for breach of the
peace, theft, or assault.
off-duty, or in their personal vehicle, officers shall not enforce, or take any
police action to enforce Class “C” traffic offenses.
Required to Take Action. Except
where expressly prohibited, Officers are required to take prompt and effective
police action conforming to departmental policy with respect to violations of
laws and ordinances coming to their attention or of which they have
knowledge. Officers shall promptly and
punctually perform all official duties.
Officers shall render, or cause to be rendered, medical assistance to any injured person.
for Duty. Employees shall promptly
report for duty properly prepared at the time and place required by
assignments, training, subpoenas, or orders.
Line officers shall remain at their posts or place of assignment until
properly relieved by another officer or dismissed by a supervisor. All other officers and employees shall
promptly report for duty properly prepared at the time and place required by
assignment and shall remain at their post, place of assignment, or otherwise
engaged in their duty assignment until having completed their tour of duty as
set by established procedures or dismissed by a supervisor. Employees are subject to emergency recall and
shall report for duty during emergencies when so notified by a supervisor or
the Chief of Police.
10. Exceptional leave. Employees
shall, in situations requiring emergency leave or sick leave, notify their
supervisors of the circumstances as soon as possible. If unable to report to work, employees shall
notify their supervisor at least one hour before reporting time.
11. Remaining Alert to Duty. While on
duty or at training, employees shall remain alert and awake, unencumbered by
alcoholic beverages, prescription drugs, illegal narcotics, or conflicts
arising from off-duty employment.
12. Prohibition of Personal Business while on Duty. While on
duty, officers shall not engage in any activity or personal business which
would cause them to neglect their duty.
While on-duty. Employees
while on-duty shall not conceal themselves except for some authorized police
purpose. Employees shall keep themselves
immediately and readily available at all times while on-duty.
14. Assistance to fellow Officers. An
officer shall not display cowardice in the line of duty or in any situation
where the public or another officer might be subjected to physical danger. Unless actually incapacitated themselves,
officers shall aid, assist, and protect fellow officers in time of danger or under
conditions where danger might be impending.
Response to All Calls. Officers
while on-duty shall respond without delay to all calls for police service. Calls shall be answered in compliance with
normal safety precautions, traffic laws and departmental policy.
to Report All Crimes and Incidents. Employees
shall promptly report all crimes, violations, emergencies, incidents, dangers,
hazardous situations and police information that come to their attention.
Employees shall not conceal, ignore or distort the facts of such crimes,
violations, emergencies, incidents and information.
to Know Laws and Procedures. Employees
shall know the laws and ordinances they are charged with enforcing, all
departmental orders and rules, and the duties and procedures governing their
to Know Boundaries and Locations. Officers
shall know the location and boundaries of their assigned areas. Officers also shall be familiar with the
names and general locations of West Columbia streets and highways and the names
and locations of hospitals and major public buildings.
Posted on Police Matters. Each day
while on-duty and immediately upon returning from an absence, employees shall
study and become familiar with the contents of recently issued communications
on-duty. Employees must be alert
throughout their tours of duty. Sleeping
while on-duty is forbidden.
Criminal Activity. Employees shall
not communicate in any manner, directly or indirectly, any information that may
delay an arrest or enable persons guilty of criminal acts to escape arrest or
punishment, dispose of property or goods obtained illegally, or destroy
evidence of unlawful activity.
on-duty. Employees shall not
read newspapers, books or magazines while on-duty and in the public view unless
such reading has been assigned by a supervisory officer.
on-duty. Employees shall not, during
their regularly assigned working hours, engage in any studying activity that is
not directly related to their current job assignments or approved by their
Communications. While officers are
on-duty or officially on call, they shall be directly available by normal means
of communication, or shall keep their
office, headquarters, or supervisors informed of the means by which they may be
reached when not immediately available.
Accidents and Injuries. Employees
shall immediately report the following accidents and injuries: all on-duty
traffic accidents in which they are involved, all personal injuries received
while on-duty, all personal injuries not received while on-duty but which are
likely to interfere with performance of assigned duties, all property damage or
injuries to other persons that resulted from the performance of assigned
duties, and all accidents involving city equipment whether on or off-duty.
Address and Telephone Number. Employees
shall have a working telephone or other means of communication in case of
emergency at their residence, and shall register their correct residence
address and telephone number with the department on the prescribed form. Any
change in address or telephone number must be reported within 24 hours.
in Departmental Investigations. When
directed by a competent authority to make a statement or furnish materials
relevant to a departmental administrative investigation, officers shall comply
with the directive.
of Firearms. Except for senior staff
or as approved by the Chief of Police or established procedures, all officers
are required to carry sidearms while on-duty. While off-duty, officers may use
their own discretion as to whether to carry sidearms.
of Firearms. All weapons carried and
used by officers in the performance of their official duties must be registered
with the department. Required
registration information must be kept current.
D. Cooperation with Fellow Employees and Agencies
for Fellow Employees. Employees
shall treat other members of the department with respect. They shall be courteous, civil and respectful
of their superiors, subordinates, and associates, and shall not use threatening
or insulting language.
with Cases or Operations. Employees
shall not interfere with cases assigned to others. Employees shall not interfere with the work
or operations of any unit in the department or the work or operations of other
governmental agencies. Employees against
whom a complaint has been made shall not directly or indirectly contact or
attempt to contact for any reason, the complainant, witness or any other
persons related to the case in an attempt to intimidate or to secure the
abandonment or withdrawal of the complaint, charges, or allegations.
E. Restrictions on Behavior
with Private Business. Employees,
during the course of their duties, shall not interfere with the lawful business
of any person.
of Intimidation. Employees shall not
use their official positions to intimidate persons.
and Accepting Gifts and Gratuities.
Unless approved by the Chief of Police, employees of the West Columbia
Police Department may not accept any reward, gratuity, gift or other
compensation for any service performed as a result of or in conjunction with
their duties as employees of the department regardless of whether the service
was performed while said persons were on or off-duty. Employees also shall not
solicit any gift, gratuity, loan, present, fee or reward for personal gain.
and Accepting Gifts from Suspects and Prisoners. Employees are strictly prohibited from
soliciting or accepting any gift, gratuity, loan, fee or other item of value,
or from lending or borrowing, or from buying or selling anything of value from
or to any suspect, prisoner, defendant or other person involved in any case, or
other persons of ill repute, or professional bondsmen, or other persons whose
vocations may profit from information obtained from the police department.
Bribe Offers. If an officer receives
a bribe offer, he shall make a written report to his commanding officer.
Gifts from Subordinates. Without
approval from the Chief of Police, employees shall not receive or accept any
gift or gratuity from subordinates, other than customary celebratory times such
as holidays or birthdays.
Special Privileges. Employees shall
not use their official positions or identification to solicit special
privileges for themselves or others, such as free admission to places of amusement,
discounts on purchases, or free or discounted meals or refreshments.
Use of Police Power. Officers shall
not use their police powers to resolve personal grievances (e.g., those
involving the officer, family members, relatives, or friends) except under
circumstances that would justify the use of self-defense, actions to prevent
injury to another person, or when a serious offense has been committed that
would justify an arrest. In all other cases, officers shall summon on-duty
police personnel and a supervisor in cases where there is personal involvement
that would reasonably require law enforcement intervention.
Testimonials and Seeking Publicity.
Employees representing themselves as members of the West Columbia Police
Department shall not give testimonials or permit their names or photographs to
be used for commercial advertising purposes. Employees also shall not seek
personal publicity either directly or indirectly in the course of their
Business. Employees shall not, while
on-duty, solicit subscriptions, sell books, papers, tickets, merchandise or
other items of value nor collect or receive money or items of value for any
personal gain to themselves or others.
Employees may solicit for projects related to charitable fundraising,
but only when done in a manner not to disrupt the workplace and only with the
approval of the Chief of Police.
on-duty. Employees shall not drink
any intoxicating beverages while on-duty.
12. Intoxication. Employees shall not be under the influence of
any intoxicating beverage or substance during their tour of duty or immediately
prior to their tour of duty. Nor shall
officers be intoxicated off-duty while in the public view. While off-duty, officers that have consumed
an alcoholic beverage to the extent that their mental and physical faculties
are impaired shall refrain from exercising any police authority. Officers assigned to special units, or
assignments where they may consume alcoholic beverage during the performance of
their duties shall not do so to the extent that their mental and physical
faculties are significantly impaired.
While in Uniform. At no time shall
any officer consume alcoholic beverages while in uniform.
on Official Premises. Employees
shall not bring containers of intoxicating beverages into a Police Department
building or vehicle except as evidence.
Bars, Taverns and Liquor Stores.
Officers on-duty or in uniform shall not enter or visit any bar, lounge,
parlor, club, store or other establishment whose primary purpose is the sale
and on-premise consumption of liquor unless for the purpose of official duties,
and shall not otherwise enter, remain or frequent such places. Officers on-duty or in uniform also shall not
purchase intoxicating beverages.
16. Drug Usage. While on or off duty, employees shall not use any illegal drug
or any controlled drug not prescribed by a physician. Employees shall
notify their supervisor if they are using any prescribed drug or any other
medication or medical device that the employee believes (or has been informed
by a physician or prescription label) might impair their driving or critical
17. Tobacco Use. Smoking is prohibited in all office and building areas under departmental
control and occupied by department employees, except in designated smoking
areas. Smoking and other tobacco use is
prohibited in all department vehicles.
18. Public Tobacco use Prohibited. Officers
shall not smoke or otherwise use tobacco products while engaged in traffic
control, on an investigation, or while otherwise in contact with or in view of
Games on-duty. Officers on-duty or
in uniform shall not engage in any games of cards, billiards, pool, dominoes,
electronic arcade games, portable electronic games, computer games including
both internally programmed games such as solitaire or Internet based games, or
Activity. While in uniform or
on-duty, officers are not allowed to actively participate (e.g., make political
speeches, pass out campaign or other political literature, write letters, sign
petitions, actively and openly solicit votes) in political campaigns. Civilian
employees are not allowed to actively participate (e.g., make political speeches,
pass out campaign or other political literature, write letters, sign petitions,
actively and openly solicit votes) in political campaigns while on-duty.
21. Improper Release of Information. Employees
shall not communicate to any person who is not an employee of this department
any information concerning operations, activities, or matters of
law-enforcement business, the release of which is prohibited by law or which
may have an adverse impact on law enforcement operations or officer safety.
Personal Preferment. Employees shall
not solicit petitions, influence or seek the intervention of any person outside
the department for purposes of personal preferment, advantage, transfer,
advancement, promotion or change of duty for themselves or for any other
of the Department. Employees shall
neither publicly nor at internal official meetings criticize or ridicule the
department or its policies, city officials or other employees by speech,
writing, or other expression, where such speech, writing, or other expression
is defamatory, obscene, unlawful, undermines the effectiveness of the
department, interferes with the maintenance of discipline, or is made with
reckless disregard for truth or falsity.
Activities. Employees shall not
perform any action that tend to disrupt the performance of official duties and
obligations of employees of the department or which tend to interfere with or
subvert the reasonable supervision or proper discipline of employees of the
of Sick Leave. Employees shall not
abuse sick leave by utilizing the time-off for any other function other than
remaining at home, visiting the doctor or obtaining prescription medication
without approval from the Chief of Police or his designee. The utilization of
vacation or compensation time in place of sick leave shall be used by an
employee if they do not have sick leave. This time used will follow the same
guidelines as sick leave. The sick leave requirement is to remain in effect
during the scheduled work day.
and Use of Police Radios. Operation
and use of police radios is restricted to authorized and official police
business. Personal conversations, or
using vulgar, sarcastic or obscene language, or making unnecessary sounds are
of Racial Jokes and Slurs. No
employee shall engage in any form of speech likely to be construed as a racial,
ethnic or religious slur or joke, whether in the presence of the public or of
of Force. Officers shall use only
that amount of force reasonably necessary to accomplish their police
to Subordinates. Supervisors shall
not become indebted to their immediate subordinates.
30. Personal Relationships Prohibited with Certain
Persons. Employees shall not become personally
involved or develop a personal or social relationship with a victim, suspect,
or witness during the course of any investigation.
to be Kind, Courteous, and Patient.
Employees shall at all times be courteous, kind, patient, and respectful
in dealing with the public. Employees
shall strive to win the respect of all members of the community in the
discharge of their official duties. When
addressed, employees shall avoid answering questions in a short or abrupt
manner, and shall not use harsh, coarse, violent, profane, indecent,
suggestive, sarcastic, or insulting language.
F. Identification and Recognition
Name and Badge Number. Officers shall
give their name, badge
number and other
pertinent information to any
person requesting such facts
unless doing so would
jeopardize the successful completion of a police assignment.
Official Identification. Officers
shall carry their official identification on their persons at all times. All
employees will carry their official identification on or about their persons
Cards. Employees are not permitted
to have or use personal cards showing their connection to the department if
such cards bear any information not directly pertaining to their work as police
Alteration or Transfer of Badge. An
employee’s issued badge shall not be altered or exchanged between employees or
transferred to another person except by order of the Chief of Police. Employees retiring or resigning will not be
permitted to retain their badge when doing so will hamper normal operations of
the department. All badges must be
purchased unless exempted by the Chief of Police.
Officers – Identification. A
uniformed officer shall neither acknowledge nor show recognition of another
police officer in civilian clothes unless that officer first addresses the
G. Maintenance of Property
of City Property or Service.
Officers shall not use or provide any city equipment or service other
than for official city business.
for City Property. Employees shall be responsible for the proper
care and use of department property and equipment assigned to or used by them
and shall promptly report to their supervisors any loss, damage, destruction,
or defect therein.
3. Departmental Vehicles. Employees
shall operate department vehicles and other equipment in such a manner as to
avoid injury to persons or damage to property.
Whenever a police vehicle is involved in an accident, the operator shall
notify a supervisor immediately. Under
no circumstances shall an officer investigate his or her own accident. The Department of Public Safety or Sheriff’s
Department will be requested to investigate police involved accidents.
4. Reporting Damage. At the
beginning of a tour of duty, employees shall examine any vehicle assigned to
them and report any operational deficiencies, damage, or defects to their
supervisors. Failure to report damage or
defects creates the presumption that the employee inspected the vehicle and
found no damage or defects. The
employee, in this case, shall be held responsible for the damage.
for Private Property. Employees are
responsible for protecting private property or equipment that has come into
their possession by reason of their office against loss, damage, or
of Quarters. Employees shall keep
their offices, lockers and desks neat, clean and orderly.
and Evidence. Employees shall not convert
to their own use, manufacture, conceal, falsify, destroy, remove, tamper with,
or withhold any property or evidence held in connection with an investigation
or other official action except in accordance with established procedures. Any
property or evidence coming into the possession of an employee shall be
submitted to the property room prior to the end of shift.
or Modification of Police Equipment.
Officers shall not use any equipment that does not conform to
departmental policy or specifications.
All equipment shall be carried and utilized only as issued and
authorized, and no changes, alterations, modifications or substitutions shall
be made to such equipment unless approved by the Chief of Police.
H. Relationship with Courts and Attorneys
1. Attendance in Court.
Employees shall arrive on time for all required court appearances and be
prepared to testify. Each member shall be
familiar with the laws of evidence and shall testify truthfully on any matter.
Attorneys or Bondsmen. Employees
shall not suggest, recommend, advise or counsel the retention of a specific
attorney or bondsmen to any person (except relatives) coming to their attention
as a result of police business.
for a Defendant. Any employee
subpoenaed or requested to testify for a criminal defendant or against the City
of West Columbia or against the interests of the department in any hearing or
trial shall immediately notify the Chief of Police through the chain of
with Attorneys. Interviews between
an officer and a complainant's attorney about a case arising from the officer's
employment by the department shall be done in the presence of or with the
knowledge and consent of the officer's commanding officer, department legal
counsel or prosecutor.
and Testifying in Civil Cases.
Officers shall not serve civil-process papers nor render assistance in
civil cases except as required by law. No employee shall volunteer to testify
in civil actions.
of Lawsuits against Officers.
Employees who have had a suit filed against them because of an act
performed in the line of duty shall immediately notify the Chief of Police in
writing and furnish a copy of the complaint as well as a full and accurate
account of the circumstances in question.
of Arrest or Citation. Employees who
have become the subject of a citation (other than traffic citations) or arrest
action in any other jurisdiction shall immediately notify the Chief of
8. Arrest of Officer from another Agency. An
officer who arrests a sworn officer of another law enforcement agency shall
immediately notify his or her own supervisor of the fact. Officers shall take whatever action is
appropriate to the circumstances including issuance of summonses or making a
physical arrest. That the person cited
or arrested is a law-enforcement officer shall make no difference.
9. Arrest of West Columbia Officer. If an
officer has probable cause to arrest a sworn officer of our department, the
officer shall first contact his or her immediate supervisor to review and
confirm probable cause. In most cases,
the officer may obtain a warrant against the suspect officer. Some occasions may demand an immediate
Expectation of Privacy
shall have no expectation of personal privacy in such places as lockers, desks,
departmentally owned vehicles, file cabinets, computers, or similar areas that
are under the control and management of this law enforcement agency. While this
agency recognizes the need for officers to occasionally store personal items in
such areas, officers should be aware that these and similar places may be
inspected or otherwise entered—to meet operational needs, internal
investigatory requirements, or for other reasons—at the direction of the agency
chief executive or his or her designee.
member of this agency shall maintain files or duplicate copies of official
agency files in either manual or electronic formats at his or her place of
residence or in other locations outside the confines of this agency without
Dating or Fraternization
may date, develop friendships and relationships both inside and outside of the
workplace as long as the relationships do not negatively impact work. Any relationship
that interferes with the department culture of teamwork, the harmonious work
environment or the productivity of employees, will be addressed by applying the
rule of conduct policy.
Adverse workplace behavior or behavior
that affects the workplace that arises because of personal relationships will
not be tolerated.
exception to this policy relates to supervisors. Anyone employed in a
supervisory role needs to heed the fact that personal relationships with
employees who report to him or her may be perceived as favoritism, misuse of
authority, or potentially, sexual harassment.
Additionally, for the same reasons and
because of the loss of employer flexibility and employee options, no employee
may date another employee who is separated by one level in the chain of
command. For example, the corporal may not develop a romantic relationship with
any employee outside of their rank.
Even if no improper conduct occurs, the
relationship may cause gossip, hard feelings, dissatisfaction, and distraction
among other employees in the workplace. The relationship may appear to other
employees as an inappropriate use of position power.
Additionally, any fraternization with any
employee who reports to the supervisor or whose terms and conditions of
employment such as pay raises, promotions, and advancement are potentially
affected by the supervisor is prohibited.
The fraternization that is prohibited by
this policy includes dating, romantic involvement, and sexual relations.
of Dating and Extra-marital Affairs for the Organization
A supervisor who dates or becomes
romantically involved with an employee creates a serious problem for the
department. Dating an employee, even when the employee is not in a reporting
relationship, and extramarital affairs, create serious consequences for the
They adversely affect the careers of both
employees with regard to advancement opportunities, choices of jobs, and
assignments. They adversely affect the department's flexibility and
consequently, may have an impact on our service to the stakeholders. These
relationships can result in charges of sexual harassment, even years later.
If a supervisor decides to pursue a close
relationship with an employee, he or she needs to inform the Chief of Police
and Human Resources immediately.
The department will then decide what, if any, actions are necessary to take in
regard to assignments and jobs.
no circumstances may a supervisor date, become romantically involved with, or
have sexual relations with a reporting employee. And, supervisors
should think long and hard about developing this kind of a relationship with a
non-reporting employee because of the consequences noted above.
Employees who disregard this policy
will receive disciplinary
actions up to and including employment