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Law Enforcement Internal Affairs Division

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 3556

Posted by: cannon
Date: Jul 02 2019 11:04 PM

HOUSTON COUNTY:   The recent incident involving a inmate left in a van for several hours following a court appearance prompted what Sheriff Donald Valenza referred to as an Internal Affairs Investigation.

Retired Alabama Bureau of Investigation Captain Barry Tucker was hired by the Houston County Sheriff when he retired from the state as the Internal Affairs Investigator. While Sheriff Valenza has not identified that Barry Tucker will be conducting the investigation, it is my guess that Barry Tucker will handle the investigation.

Anyone who knows Barry Tucker will tell you that he is a honest forthright person who believes in integrity, honesty, and doing the right thing. Barry Tucker will stick to the "facts" of the situation and will details the facts as the investigation progresses.

Barry Tucker is thorough and detailed. He is not persuaded because someone is a fellow officer. He is a truth finder of facts. He will neither hide information nor will be make up information. The investigation will contain the true facts as found by his thorough investigation.

Barry Tucker answers to one man, and that is Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza. All investigation work is confidential and only Sheriff Valenza see's the work product.

As Deputy Coroner of Henry County I have had the occasion to work some cases with Barry Tucker. You rarely see a smile. But what you see is a man of honesty, integrity, the willingness and knowledge to do a job right and correct. I learned a lot in just being around Barry Tucker when he served as Captain of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

The Dothan Police Department also has a Internal Affairs Investigation Unit. This unit answers directly to the Chief of Police. At one time I knew all of the Internal Affairs Investigation Officers of Dothan Police Department. Probably do know all of them. The one I know is also a officer of integrity, honesty and truthfulness. One the Chief of Police can depend on to provide facts and not opinions.


“Complete investigation” defined.

A preliminary investigation should encompass an effort to gather key statements or evidence if reasonably attainable. The goal of a preliminary investigation is to determine if the complaint should be further investigated and, if so, by whom.

A “complete investigation” is one which includes all relevant information required to achieve the purpose of the inquiry. A complete investigation is not necessarily exhaustive. There are many inquiries where a good faith professional judgment determines that sufficient relevant evidence of all points of view has been acquired, and where collecting more information merely would be cumulative.

One should expect of a complete investigation that a competent adjudicator will be able to make a finding without resorting to surmise, prejudice, or assumption of facts at issue.

A complete investigation should take place where the allegations, if true, would likely result in formal discipline.

Likewise, a complete investigation should be considered if it appears from a preliminary review that an agency’s policy, standard, or training may be a factor in unintended consequences apparent in the complaint. Any decision not to proceed to a complete investigation should be made by the commander of Internal Affairs with a written explanation included in the file.

Nonetheless, a small number of complaints will allege facts that defy science and reason and accordingly do not merit more than cursory investigation and should be closed with a finding that the complainant’s claim was impossible to investigate because the allegations were physically, logically, or technically impossible under any reasonable construal.

An example of such a claim would be that an agency’s space satellite is continuously piercing the complainant’s brain with laser beams, or that the agency’s employees are stealing her internal organs from her every time she goes to the market. Complaints closed in this manner should be reviewed by the commander of Internal Affairs as a check against improper closure.


The internal affairs refers to a division of a law enforcement agency that investigates incidents and possible suspicions of law-breaking and professional misconduct attributed to officers on the force. It is thus a mechanism of limited self-governance, "a police force policing itself". In different systems, internal affairs can go by other names such as Internal Investigations Division (usually referred to as IID), professional standards, inspectorate generalOffice of Professional Responsibility, Internal Review Board, or similar.

Due to the sensitive nature of this responsibility, in many departments, officers employed in an internal affairs unit are not in a detective command but report directly to the agency's chief, or to a board of civilian police commissioners.

Internal affairs investigators are bound by stringent rules when conducting their investigations. In California, the Peace Officers Bill of Rights (POBR) is a mandated set of rules found in the Government Code


The internal affairs function is not an enforcement function, but rather a policing function that works to report only.[2] The concept of internal affairs is very broad and unique to each police department.[3] However, the sole purpose to having an internal affairs unit is to investigate and find the truth to what occurred when an officer is accused of misconduct. An investigation can also give insight on a policy itself that may have issues.[2]


The circumstances of the complaint determines who will be investigating the complaint. The investigation of police officer(s) misconduct can be conducted by the internal affairs unit, executive police officer, or any other outside agency.[2] In the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Civilian Review Board will also investigate the complaint, but they will do so independently.[4] When the investigation begins, everything is documented and all employees, complainants, and witnesses are interviewed. Any physical evidence is analyzed and past behaviors of the officer in question are reviewed. Dispatch tapes, police reports, tickets, audio, and videotapes are all reviewed if available.[5] Many controversies arise because an officer investigating police misconduct may show favoritism and/or hold grudges particularly when a single officer is conducting the investigation. Some departments hire uninvolved officers or include another department or a special unit to conduct the investigation.


Larger agencies have the resources to have separate units for internal affairs, but smaller agencies - which do not have the luxury - are more common, with 87% of police departments in the United States employing 25 or fewer sworn officers.[5] Smaller agencies that do not have sufficient resources may have the executive officer, the accused's supervisor, or another police department conduct an investigation. The state police may also be asked to investigate criminal behavior, but they do not deal in minor misconduct or rule violation cases. However, allowing another department to investigate can result in lower morale among the officers because it can appear as an admission that the department cannot handle their own affairs.

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