How does Conway Police Department handle complaints of excessive force or other allegations?
Conway Police Department has two investigators assigned to review and investigate all complaints. Complaints can be made by a person by using a form that is available online or at the police department. All complaints are thoroughly investigated. A typical complaint investigation involves a review of all body camera audio and video, review of all dash camera audio and video, conducting interviews and taking written statements of the complainant(s) and any witnesses. Once the investigation is complete, a report is created and sent the Police Chief. The complainant is made aware of the findings every time. If the complainant is not pleased with the outcome of the investigation, they are encouraged to contact the Arkansas State Police and/or the FBI.
Conway Police Department conducts officer investigations into a variety of situations even when no complaints by the public have been made. This is done to ensure policies and proper police practices are followed at all times. In fact, 85% of all investigations are initiated internally.
Does Conway Police Department allow its officers to use “chokeholds?”
Conway Police Department has not permitted or trained officers to use “chokeholds” in more than a decade. The prohibition of these types of tactics and restraints is made clear from the time the officer receives his/her initial use of force/defensive tactics training in the police academy and all additional subsequent training. In addition, Conway Police Department, as an agency accredited by CALEA, follows nationally set standards, and closely monitors changes to those standards, and also partners with and looks for guidance from the state and national chiefs of police associations.
What if a person believes he/she is the victim of excessive force but does not report it?
Conway Police Officers are required to make Use of Force Reports any time force is used. The reports are reviewed by supervisors and command staff to ensure policies were followed not only in the right order but that only enough forced was used for the specific situation. If an officer is found to be in violation is the use of force policy or fails to make a Use of Force Report they will be disciplined, which could include suspension, demotion or termination.
What does Conway Police Department do when an officer is found to used excessive force?
It is the policy of the Conway Police Department to immediately terminate officers who are found to have used excessive force. In appropriate cases, the Conway Police Department will seek decertification of the officer, which would make that office ineligible to work in law enforcement anywhere in the State. The case will also be referred to the Prosecuting Attorney to determine if criminal charges should be filed based on the officer’s conduct.
In cases of serious physical injury or death does Conway Police Department. conduct its own investigation?
In cases where the contact between Conway Police officers and a suspect result in serious injury or death, the Conway Police Department requests the case be referred to an outside investigative agency, which is typically the Arkansas State Police. The ASP will conduct an independent criminal investigation that will be turned over the Prosecuting Attorney. The Conway Police Department will conduct an internal investigation to determine if policies, training or practices of the Department were violated.
When police are involved in a shooting, they are placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation – why are they paid during the investigation?
Administrative leave allows the Conway Police Department and/or an outside, independent agency the time needed to thoroughly investigate an incident. Officers are paid during this time because until the investigation is complete, they are still employees of the Department.
I have heard that some police agencies hire officers from other agencies even when they have been fired or disciplined for excessive force or similar violations. How does Conway Police Department keep this from happening here?
Conway Police Department conducts a thorough review of the prior law enforcement work records of all applicants. Any applicant who has been fired or disciplined for excessive force or similar violations will not eligible for hire at the Conway Police Department. Any applicant who refuses to allow access to prior work records is will also not be eligible for hire.
Does Conway have an independent review board for police?
The Civil Service Commission governs the uniform employees (police and fire) of the City of Conway with regards to hiring, discipline and termination. Conway has a Civil Service Commission composed of community members, none of whom are police officers, who independently evaluate issues brought before them. The Civil Service Commission also have other duties that includes setting promotional exam dates and certifying new hire lists. All meetings are open to the public.
What if I file a complaint about an officer with the Police Department and I am unsatisfied with the outcome of the investigation?
In any case, you have the right to contact your elected officials about any misconduct, including the mayor, city council, the city attorney, state and federal representatives. You may also contact the Arkansas State Police, FBI and/or U.S. Attorney.
How does Conway Police Department ensure that officers are policing and interacting with the community in an unbiased manner?
Conway officers receive diversity training as well as an implicit bias in policing course upon hiring. The Conway Police Department also conducts random reviews of the body camera video of every officer in the department twice every month. Even before the introduction of body-worn video cameras, the Department conducted similar random audits of patrol unit dash camera video.
Are officers required to report or prevent misconduct/policy violations/excessive us of force they witness?
Yes. All officers understand there are trained and expected to intervene and report misconduct they witness while on duty.