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

situation?

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?

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