Personnel Roles and Functions
I. Intruding Ima and the Falsified Report
An 8-year employee of your police agency, Officer
Ima Goodenough, is a patrol officer who often
serves as a field training officer. Goodenough is
generally capable and experienced in both the
patrol and detective divisions. She takes pride in
being of the “old school” and has developed a
clique of approximately 10 people with whom she
gets along while mostly shunning other officers. As
an officer of the old school, she typically handles
calls for service without requesting cover units or
backup. She has had six complaints of brutality
lodged against her during the last 3 years. For Ima
and her peers, officers who call for backup are
“wimps.” She has recently been involved in two
high-speed pursuits during which her vehicle was
damaged when she attempted to run the offender
off the road. Ima will notify a supervisor only when
dealing with a major situation. She is borderline
insubordinate when dealing with new supervisors.
She believes that, generally speaking, the administration
exists only to “screw around with us.” You,
her shift commander, have been angry about her
deteriorating attitude and reckless performance
for some time and have been wondering whether
you will soon have occasion to take some form of
disciplinary action against her. You have also
learned that Ima has a reputation among her
supervisors as being a “hot dog.” Some of her past
and present supervisors have even commented
that she is a “walking time bomb” who is unpredictable
and could “blow” at any time.
One day, while bored on patrol, Ima decides to
go outside her jurisdiction, responding to a shooting
call that is just across the city limit and in the county.
She radios the dispatcher that she is out “assisting,”
then walks into the home where paramedics are
frantically working on a man with a head wound
lying on the floor. Nearby on the floor is a large
foreign-made revolver; Ima holds and waves the
revolver in the air, examining it. A paramedic yells at
her, “Hey! Put that down, this may be an attempted
homicide case!” Ima puts the revolver back on the
floor. Meanwhile, you have been attempting to contact
Ima via radio to get her back into her jurisdiction.
Later, when the sheriff’s office complains to you
about her actions at their crime scene, you require
her to write a report of her actions. She completes a
report describing her observations at the scene but
denies touching or picking up anything. Looking at
Ima’s personnel file, you determine that her
performance evaluations for the past 8 years are
“standard”—average to above average. She has never
received a suspension from duty for her actions.
Although verbally expressing their unhappiness with
her for many years, Ima’s supervisors have not
expressed that attitude in writing.
Questions for Discussion
1. What are the primary issues involved in this
2. Do you believe that there are sufficient
grounds for bringing disciplinary action
against Goodenough? If so, what would be the
specific charges? What is the appropriate punishment?
3. Do you believe that this is a good opportunity
to terminate Ima’s employment? Do grounds
for termination exist?
4. Does the fact that Ima’s supervisors have rated
her performance as standard have any bearing
on this matter or create difficulties in bringing
a case for termination? If so, how?