One or more officers are accused of doing something bad, maybe even criminal, while on duty. What do you do about it? What are the options? Should you arrest the officer? Unless a supervisor catches the officer in the commission of a major crime this is not a good option. In the mind of the public it will presume guilt and will likely ruin the officers’ career, even if they are innocent. There may also be hard feelings within the department and resentment towards the supervisor. Still, a criminal is a criminal, even if they are in uniform and should be treated as such. Certainly this would be appropriate if the officer was caught on duty in the commission of a robbery, rape or murder that is obviously for their own personal gain.
You can suspend the officer from work without pay. Officers generally have ties to the community and are not a flight risk. Can you suspend someone who has only been accused of wrong doing without having had their day in court? Suspension without pay is a punishment. You should not punish someone until the investigation is concluded and hearings have determined liability and proper punishment if any.
You can suspend the officer from work with pay. Officers should not be punished until there has been a complete investigation and they have been found to be liable for violations of the law or agency policy. Only then should they be given time off without pay, fired or have prosecution go forward. Officers should not be placed on light duty and work at the station or in dispatch. There are too many opportunities for them to interfere with the investigation and so should not continue to work. Officer mis-conduct happens and we need to deal with it; fairly, impartially and properly; that’s what the SGT Says.