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How Can Municipalities Protect the Privacy of First Responders When Internal Affairs Gets Involved?

First responders play a huge role in the protection of the public. From being the first on the scene of an emergency to responding to calls at record speed, first responders are often the people we turn to as a helpful resource. But whose job is it to protect first responders?

Typically in a work environment, we have a department known as Human Resources, abbreviated as HR. HR works to protect its employees and the company from backlash, misconduct, or any issues that involve either party. 

The Role of Human Resources

 HR is tasked with maximizing employee productivity and protecting the company from any issues that may arise within the workforce. The Human Resources Department is responsible for recruitment, compensation, retention, firing, employee benefits, and keeping up to date with any laws that may affect employees or the company. While Human Resources can often have a negative connotation, it does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Not only does HR help navigate the ins and outs of employee work and company production, but they also help solve problems for employees and help better interpersonal relationships. Additionally, HR helps build a company's morale and conducts specialized and helpful training for employees in the workplace. 

What Does Internal Affairs Do? What is Their Purpose? 

Internal Affairs, often also known as IA, is a division of a law enforcement agency that investigates incidents and possible suspicions of criminal and professional misconduct in first responders. The term for Internal Affairs varies per department. They can be referred to as the Internal Investigations Division (IID), Inspector, Inspectorate General, Internal Review Board, etc. Regardless of what they go by, they all seek to accomplish the same goal, which is to implement professional standards and responsibility within first responders. 

The Internal Affairs Department is not typically an enforcement function, but rather a policing function that reports only. The concept is broad and unique to each department. However, their sole purpose is to investigate and find the truth about what occurred when an officer is accused of misconduct or there is a community complaint about an employee, just to name a few. 

How Does Internal Affairs Promote Employee Success? 

How Do They Protect First Responders?

Like Human Resources, Internal Affairs often are seen to have negative implications. First responders are highly respected within communities and are looked at as a resource rather than a roadblock. However, there are some instances where the public or division heads think differently, and the safest route to an investigation is having Internal Affairs involved.

Internal Affairs promotes employee success because it helps solve problems that may arise within the workforce. Having a department that helps protect first responders in this way is crucial to the success of the first responder, and the protection of the community. 

  1. Source: Highland Park PS (2024) How Does a DPS System Work

  1. Source: TG (2024) Officer’s Guide to Internal Affairs Investigations

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