"Fit for Duty" - The resolve to any problem, is inside the problem!
"Fit for Duty" - The resolve to any problem, is inside the problem!
"Fit for Duty" Initiative - The solution to any problem is inside the problem!
We are seeking for immediate and necessary protections for all citizens especially people of color, from being systematically racially profiled, emotionally physically abused and unwarranted shooting/beating deaths caused by a Police Officer.
"Fit for Duty" is a common sense approach, to Effective Policing, throughout California and the United States! "Fit for Duty" also serves as, a call to action to remove and prevent the worst police officers from permanently traumatizing & unwarranted shootings, perpetuated on "All" community members throughout California & the United States' Officer's are paid to "Protect & Serve."
I’m proposing Police Officers throughout the state of California and the United States undergo a Licensing and Certification Process every 2 years in addition to preforming annual Re-Certification modules every 3 years in order to be classified as “Fit for Duty”. Continuing education or professional development is required in many fields,. Doctors, Teachers, Social Workers and Interior Designers must complete Continuing Education programs. These are mandatory requirements; they remain as positive reinforcement tools to ensure each individual maintain their license and certifications to work in their chosen profession.
As in other professions ie doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers, cosmetologist and Notary Signing Agents, it is a state requirement that these professions renew their license every two to three years, such as should be a requirement for Police Officers. Police Officers shouldn’t be exempt from this mandatory requirement and continual professional developmental education on an annual basis as they progress in their chosen Career.
The Procedural Process for Police Officer’s to receive their State License and Certification should be inclusive of the items listed below in addition to other subject matters, as needed or directed by the State or Departmental and Community:
2. Police Brutality
3. Thief / Larceny
4. Any violations of the Communities Trust
Mandatory Certification Courses
1. Race relations
2. Weapon Re-certification
3. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (C.P.R)
4. Sexual harassment
5. Gender relations
6. Responsibility and commitment to the community
7. Effective communication
8. Identifying Mental Health Crisis
9. Social Justice
What is “Fit for Duty?"
"Fit for Duty" is a common sense approach, to Effective Policing, throughout California and the United States! Through videos, news clippings and personal interactions, an Officer remaining “Fit for Duty” is paramount to the Public Trust for each Officer to continue to ‘Protect & Serve’ and remain ‘“Fit for Duty”!’ All police officers must undergo a numerous mental and physical fitness for duty examinations before becoming eligible to become a sworn police officer. We also assume each potential officer was been properly screened, examined and vetted before being offered a career in Law enforcement. In essence, Police Officers have to be physically fit, emotionally balanced, mentally sharp and of exceptionally good moral character..
Why should an officer be “Fit for Duty?"
All tax paying citizens and the latter have a right to know the mentality and emotional make up of a police officer actions do not become unlawful, dangerous and inconsistent with the sworn oath - policy and procedures of his/her Career.. Aside from remaining physically fit, it is just as important for our Sworn Officers to be emotionally fit. We as citizens need to be assured adequate checks and balances are consistently utilized, to check for burnout, unhealed and unaddressed on the job traumas, jaded by race-ethnicity or gender, post traumatic stress syndrome, burnout and complete emotional disconnection from Protecting and Serving the entire Population.
The “Fit for Duty” Initiative” will effectively detect and remove sworn officers who have a strong propensity toward racial profiling and perpetrating unwarranted violence against persons they are sworn to protect and serve while in the line of duty. In addition to the License and Re-certification Process mentioned above’ I am also proposing all police officers undergo the initial screenings that deemed them “Fit for Duty” during the hiring cognitive operations! Currently, a psychological pre-employment screening for police candidates is mandatory across all policing agencies. The “Fit for Duty” examinations are rigorous; only forty percent of people who take the examination have the mental capacity required by police staffing personnel to pass it. If an officer fails the psychological/polygraph examinations initially, then he or she is not given a second chance to apply as an officer with that policing agency, or any policing agencies within the state of California.
“Fit for Duty” requires all Police Officers to retake the psychological examination and a polygraph examination every two years that they remain on active duty. Furthermore, it should be procedural and mandatory that the polygraph and psychological examiners proctoring the examination be independent contractors. Hiring outside, independent contractors, will show no bias or preferential exclusionary tactics within the examination process, procedures, and best practices. Physical agility examinations and random substance screening examinations are regularly administered, thus, there is no reason for psychological and polygraph examinations to not be retaken as well. Requiring exam retakes will help reduce police shootings and unwarranted violence towards persons officers are sworn to protect and serve. If an officer in question fails the psychological, “Fit for Duty” re-certification and polygraph re-examination, he or she must be released from duty until he or she can be cleared to return to duty. Three to six months of paid administrative leave for the officer in question is recommended. If the Officer in question requires more time to be deemed “Fit for Duty” he/she will, no longer be compensated by the Police Department. However he/she can be compensated retroactively after passing the required examinations and re-certification process. During this time, the officer must seek out verifiable, medically accredited therapy at their own expense to deal with any issues that may prevent the officer from being “Fit for Duty”. In order to be fully reinstated, the officer must be medically cleared by a licensed psychologist and take the re-certification examination(s) again. If the officer in question passes both exams and the “Fit for Duty” re-certification, then he or she may immediately be returned to active duty. However, if he or she fails the mandatory exams, the officer will be asked to retire, resign, or be terminated from the police department.
Any officer involved in an unlawful shooting or excessive force investigation, must also undergo psychological and polygraph examinations immediately. Said officers will be given the same opportunity to become "Fit for Duty”" via the psychological and polygraph examinations. They will also be fired if they fail either examination twice, regardless of how the police department feels about the unlawful shooting or excessive force investigation, as they will no longer be considered “Fit for Duty”. If an officer fails the mandatory exams, the officer will be asked to retire, resign, or be terminated from the police department.
Rewarding Exceptional Officers:
When a community member files blatantly false citations or complaints against a police officer and the allegations have no merit, the complaint should be removed without prejudice from the officer’s employment file after the complaint is investigated and proven to be false. It is the Department of Justice general policy that local government will be primarily responsible for citizen complaints against law enforcement agencies or employees of law enforcement agencies, and that appropriate local resources (e.g. sheriff or police department and district attorney) be utilized for resolution of such complaints prior to a request for intervention by the Attorney General. The Attorney General office will review citizen complaints against a law enforcement agency or its employees for possible investigation when substantive allegations of unlawful conduct are made and all appropriate local resources for redress have been exhausted, or when the local district attorney is the subject of the complaint. Allegations of police misconduct that are not criminal, are handled exclusively by the law enforcement agency where the complaint was originally filed.***
*There is a completely different process and resolution for citizens that choose to pursue’ Police Misconduct, Criminal and Civil Rights Violations Complaints against Police Officers. The link below describes a full explanation on filing the above charges. https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/civilrights/citizencomplaintpolicy.pdf
Police misconduct, civil rights violations and criminal complaints can take a variety of different forms. Some of the most common include: unlawful detention, false arrest, excessive force, relying on racial profiling, and Police Officers committing perjury. Examples of legal remedies and resolutions for the above investigated and “true” complaints: Civil rights lawsuit demanding an injunction and/or monetary damages, Criminal prosecution of the offending officer; And or a criminal filing an internal affairs complaint, the F.B.I. and with the local police department.
New Recruits and Seasoned Police Officers:
Community members must be met where they are in life, not where law enforcement officers want them to be. Forty hours of volunteering while in the Police Academy and forty hours per year for veteran officers should be mandatory. The volunteering must be completed with a local non-profit that works with under-served populations (Prison Reentry –Veterans - Homeless Shelters - Battered Women's Shelters - Foster Care Agencies - Youth Boot Camps). By volunteering, the officers will consistently have hands-on training in cultural diversity, race relations, conflict resolutions, and learning to effectively see everyday people as they see themselves.
**I remain hopeful every police department adopts their own written policy committed to Volunteerism to be inclusive with a Community Outreach approach.**
Some of the psychological characteristics that are included on both current exams are listed below, along with an explanation for why each section should be re-examined every two years and be required in addition to the existing polygraph examination.
Important Psychological Factors
Intelligence: The complexity of police work and the need for good problem-solving skills indicates that, minimally, average intelligence is necessary. Above average intelligence can be an asset, but is not a requirement. Below average intelligence should render candidates ineligible for employment on the police force. A below average score on a retake exam would also result in ineligibility to serve as an officer.
Judgment: Officers must act appropriately and decisively in stressful and non-stressful situations. The ability to exercise good judgment in a wide range of interpersonal situations is critical in law enforcement. Officers who exhibit good judgment on examinations and in their employment history are rated more positively by their superiors and have fewer disciplinary problems. Questionable judgment is a common reason for not recommending a candidate.
Lack of Impulsivity: Law enforcement requires rapid responses in critical situations. However, the tendency to act too quickly, without considering sufficient alternatives or consequences, end badly. Whether shown on the exam or in personal history, candidates who show extremely high impulsivity can be a risky hire. For example, those who gamble, drink heavily, or have problems managing their finances are high risks for employment.
Honesty and Integrity: These are important qualities in almost any line of work, but especially important in law enforcement work for obvious reasons. Several psychological examinations measure a candidate's honesty. The ability and willingness to give information that is consistent with background investigation information is also a measure of honesty. Any indication of dishonesty, including serious omissions, during the psychological evaluation process is generally seen as sufficient reason to not recommend a candidate.
Conflict Resolution Skills: Although a willingness to use physical force as a last resort is necessary for the job, candidates must show that they know how to deal with conflict and anger without undue hostility or aggression. Police officers need to be able to relate in a positive, compassionate way toward citizens in crisis situations. Excessive aggressiveness, dominance, or a poor attitude, are negative indicators for a successful career on a police force. These attitudes may be discovered on an examination or by a history of physical altercations or verbal abusiveness.
Absence of Bias: Officers must be able to enforce the law fairly, regardless of ethnicity or gender and regardless if they are dealing with a suspect or a victim. Although candidates rarely disclose biased attitudes freely, bias attitudes may be identified through the psychological examination process. Also, specific background information from friends, family, acquaintances, and employers may yield important information about prejudicial attitudes.
Attitudes Toward Supervision: The ability to accept constructive criticism is important in any line of work. With the hierarchical, para-militaristic nature of the organizational structure, the ability to accept constructive criticism, supervision, and chain-of-command directions is especially important in police work. Candidates may be rejected if they have demonstrated difficulty relating to supervisors without undue resentment or combativeness, or if examination results suggest unacceptable levels of rebelliousness and/or difficulty deferring to authority.
Team Orientation: Officers generally work in teams, and must be able to depend on each other for backup in life and death situations. Candidates must demonstrate that they are willing to develop positive relationships with colleagues. Candidates should generally have healthy relationships with friends and family. Those who are extremely aloof, or who have difficulty trusting others or engendering trust from others, may not be recommended for appointment.
* The following four "New" sub-categories should also be considered and rendered, during the psychological/polygraph evaluation process by the contractor hired to facilitate the polygraph examinations:
Bullying: Driven by personal or professional insecurities, weak ego strength, and a desire to assert authority or bolster their own status, adult bullies most often target those they perceive as threats or whom they feel targeting will offer them some advantage.
Diversity: Officers must understand that each individual is unique and also recognize, embrace, and respect individual differences. The differences can be in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political affiliations, or other ideologies.
Childhood Trauma: Any unaddressed childhood trauma can impact a person into adulthood. He or she may experience life-long feelings of shame and guilt, feel disconnected, or be unable to relate em-pathetically to others. Childhood trauma victims may also exhibit trouble controlling emotions. They may experience heightened anxiety, depression, and anger.
Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome: PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or from person to person.
Examples of Police Polygraph Questions and the current value each question carries related to becoming a sworn Police Officer:
1. Background Information: Schools attended current and prior residences. They may also interview some former teachers and professors and even classmates to check-out the candidate’s character and public demeanor. Included in this check will be if there was any disciplinary actions taken against the candidate in school. The background investigation includes checking with candidate family, friends and relatives about what kind of person candidate is. The investigators will visit the candidate’s birth place and the place where the candidate currently resides and ask questions to find out personal information about the candidate.
2. Negative information gathered from other Policing Agencies;
Policing Agencies want to learn' if the candidate applied to any other law enforcement agencies, where a candidate was rejected because of a background investigation, polygraph, psychological assessment, or anything else which would reflect negatively about the candidate.
3. Employment Background: The agency wants to find out if the candidate is going to be a good employee if the candidate is hired. The candidate’s past employment history is a good indicator of how the candidate will perform with that agency.
4. Financial Information: A candidate, who has demonstrated a history of making poor financial decisions, may not be a good hire for an agency.
"Fit for Duty" - Police Officer Registry
Creating a State Police Officer Registry-database for citizens to review and locate all sworn Police Officers will substantiate and give immeasurable public trust. I am not the first citizen to bring this cause of action to the public eye! Senator Nancy Skinner-D-Berkeley C.A. wrote current legislation: SB1421 in 2018. Governor Brown passed the legislation to allow the following information be made public: SB1421-January 1, 2019, the following records became subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Act: (1) Records of officer involved shootings; (2) Records of officer uses of force that result in death or great bodily injury; (3) Records of sustained incidents involving sexual assault against a member of the public; and (4) Records of sustained incidents of dishonesty.
Below I have provided the links to the passed legislation SB1421 and pending legislation SB776
Senator Skinner has also introduced SB 776 in 2019- https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB776&showamends=false
SB 776- Pending Legislation: https://firstamendmentcoalition.org/2020/08/fac-supports-sb-776-to-improve-police-transparency-in-california/
The “Fit for Duty” Registry will have the following information;
1. Police Officer’s Name
2. Badge Number
3. The Police Department the Police Officer is assigned to.
4. Police Captain the Officer reports to.
5. How many years Police Officers have on the Police force.
6. Whether the Police Officer is Active – Inactive.
7. Links for making a citizens complaint or giving praise to individual officers that provided amazing service related to Protecting and Serving our communities best interest.
A common sense approach to Effective Policing through-out California and the United States! *The “Fit for Duty” Initiative mimics “ALMOST” the exact same procedural process to hire Police Officers and deem them “Fit for Duty” with my proposed legislation’ I am not reinventing the wheel. Communities throughout the United States, would like to be assured, if a wheel comes off, it can be fixed or replaced.*
"We are not, the worst mistake, we have ever made in our lives" ~Bryan Stevenson
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Website/Under Construction: www.fitfordutyofficers.org
Thank you for your consideration, acknowledgement, support and signature!
Revised March 15, 2020
Y.L.W. All Rights & Intellectual Properties Reserved