Identify and Discipline Infractions

Identify and Discipline Infractions

Effective policies for use of surveillance tools must be accompanied by comprehensive mechanisms for identifying violations and imposing discipline.

The consequences of an act affect the probability of its occurring again.

B. F. Skinner, Psychologist

It is not enough to simply have appropriate policies, rules, and training for the use of surveillance tools. They must be accompanied by a comprehensive program for identifying misconduct and for  taking steps to prevent it in the future. Otherwise, the purposes of policies and rules, no matter how thorough and well-intentioned, will be subverted. An effective program for identifying and disciplining misconduct must include routine audits, must enable the community to acquire records, and must provide consequences for misconduct.

The public must have effective access to law enforcement records on the use of surveillance tools  so that it can ensure that its law enforcement agencies are following policies and rules. Law enforcement agencies should be required to maintain records that provide comprehensive insight into its practices. Record retention requirements should reflect this need while being balanced with  public interests in protecting individual privacy.

There must also be a process that enables citizens to report  alleged misconduct. Raised concerns should receive a prompt response,   and there should be transparency for the results of any inquiries

Clear consequences for violations must  accompany rules and policies for surveillance.. Consequences should include disallowing use of evidence in criminal prosecutions, potential termination of a person engaging in misconduct, fines against the corresponding agency, and civil rights of action.

Examples of Use

  • Map of Minnesota
    Auditor finds data access abuse rampant

    A 2013 report by the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor found that over half of the state’s law enforcement officers with access to drive location data had abused their access at one time or another. This types of abuses can be prevented by rigorous review of access to sensitive records designed to identify misuse by trusted users.