Minnesota Department of Corrections

 

Policy:                        107.100                       Title: Internal Affairs – Office of Special Investigations

Issue Date:                 8/16/16

Effective Date:          9/6/16

 

AUTHORITY:          Policy 107.005, “Office of Special Investigations”

 

PURPOSE:    To establish procedures for the assignment of allegations of department employees, volunteers, and contractors misconduct cases to the office of special investigations (OSI).

 

APPLICABILITY:   Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC); department-wide

 

POLICY:       OSI investigates allegations of employee misconduct as directed by the OSI director/designee.  The OSI director/designee refers allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination to the human resources director for investigation of violations of Policy 103.300, "Discrimination-free Workplace."  Allegations of misconduct may be reported from any source, internal or external, non-criminal or criminal in nature.

 

DEFINITIONS:

Complaint - broadly means any report, allegation, or information indicating that a department employee, volunteer, or contractor may be engaged in employee misconduct.  A complaint may be verbal or in writing.  An employee’s improper discharge of department or state policies, programs, procedures, or laws does not constitute a basis for a complaint against an individual employee, however, such issues may call for a departmental response or efforts aimed at resolution.

 

Misconduct - employee conduct that violates criminal law, administrative rules, department policies, directives, or instructions, or any conduct that by nature reflects unfavorably on the department; any act that may be the basis for a criminal, civil, or disciplinary action.

 

PROCEDURES:

A.        Scope

1.         OSI internal affairs investigations provide the function of investigation and fact-finding.

 

2.         Upon request, OSI may provide assistance concerning investigations conducted by supervisors or to others outside of OSI.

 

3.         OSI does not recommend or direct specific forms of disciplinary action.

 

4.         OSI is bound by the provisions of collective bargaining agreements that govern investigative processes and procedures.  OSI endeavors at all times to be respectful of, and act in accordance with, the provisions of any applicable agreements and/or plans.

 

B.        Reporting - any director, supervisor, manager, or member of human resources (HR) who receives a complaint or information indicating that an employee, contractor, or volunteer has engaged in misconduct or criminal behavior, or who has witnessed misconduct or criminal behavior is responsible for taking immediate action.

1.         Reported behavior of a criminal nature that is also life threatening must immediately be reported to local law enforcement (911) and to the OSI assistant director-investigations, and the appropriate assistant or deputy commissioner.

 

2.         Reported behavior of a criminal nature that is not life threatening must promptly be reported to the OSI assistant director-investigations.  The OSI assistant director-investigations consults with the appropriate assistant or deputy commissioner, policy and legal services director, HR management staff, and warden (if applicable) in determining the appropriate action.

 

3.         Any reported behavior of a non-criminal nature referred to OSI is processed as described in Section C, below.

 

C.        Complaint resolution procedures

1.         OSI receives and documents all complaints of misconduct that are presented to it.  All complaints are entered into the augmented criminal investigation support system (ACISS) case management system maintained by the OSI.

 

2.         OSI reviews each complaint and determines how the complaint is handled. 

 

3.         Options for handling complaints include:

a)         Referral back to supervisor or manager for investigation;

b)         Referral to an appropriate unit, such as HR, field services, or the office of diversity;

c)         Conduct and complete the investigation; or

d)         Request assistance from an outside agency.

 

D.        General guidelines for investigations

1.         Thoroughness and scope

a)         Each investigation commences with the purpose of gathering all material evidence which tends to prove or disprove the complaint. 

b)         If information emerges during the course of an investigation indicating that other employee misconduct may have occurred, OSI reviews that information and determines whether

(1)       The scope of the present investigation must be expanded; or

(2)       Those issues must be addressed by different personnel or through a different process. 

c)         An investigation may be discontinued, upon approval of the director of OSI, if it becomes apparent that further investigation is unwarranted. 

d)         A decision to discontinue an investigation, and the reasons, are documented in writing and submitted to the commissioner/designee for review.

 

2.         Timeliness - OSI works to complete investigations within 30-45 days of the date of the complaint, unless a shorter period is specified by an agreement and/or plan.

 

3.         Criminal misconduct

a)         Complaints or evidence of criminal misconduct must be referred to the appropriate law enforcement or prosecutorial authority. 

b)         Such a referral must not detract from the ability or responsibility of OSI to complete an investigation. 

c)         A special investigator must seek approval from the prosecutorial authority, prior to conducting the internal investigation. 

d)         The deputy commissioner of facility services makes the final decision as to when the internal investigation may begin.

 

4.         Subjects of investigations

a)         OSI contacts HR and informs them that OSI is conducting a staff misconduct investigation. 

b)         HR gives initial notice to an employee that

(1)       He or she is the subject of an investigation; and

(2)       The identity of the investigator or another departmental contact. 

(3)       The notice is given in accordance with bargaining agreements and plans, and at such a time that it is not detrimental to the investigation.

(4)       OSI tells HR when to give notice to an employee. 

c)         OSI gives notice to HR when the investigation is complete.  HR gives notice to an employee when the investigation is complete.

 

5.         Investigative leave

a)         OSI provides preliminary complaint information to HR and the involved division or unit, as necessary, to make an informed decision with respect to investigative leave. 

b)         In the event an employee is placed on investigative leave, OSI staff must coordinate with HR and the involved division/unit to ensure that the employee is provided with preliminary information concerning the nature of the allegations.

 

E.         Criteria for investigation by OSI - OSI has limited investigative resources and must exercise discretion to ensure resources are used appropriately to meet the priority needs of the department.  The following criteria must be used.

1.         The type, level, severity, and potential impact of the allegation.

 

2.         The OSI resources available to conduct and complete the investigation in a timely manner.

 

3.         The appropriateness of OSI to coordinate and complete the investigation.

 

4.         Other resources available who:

a)         Are capable of conducting the investigation; and

b)         Are sufficiently removed from the situation so as to be able to proceed without any real or perceived conflict of interest.

 

5.         The departure of the alleged abuser or victim from the custody of the department shall not provide a basis for terminating the investigation.  If the alleged abuser is an employee of the department and terminates their employment the investigation shall continue. 

 

F.         Interviews

1.         All interviews must be digitally recorded. 

 

2.         The original recording must be preserved as evidence in a secure location. 

 

3.         The recording must be burned to a compact disc (CD) and the CD placed into a secure location. 

 

4.         The original recording must not be removed from secure evidence storage unless necessary for presentation in a subsequent proceeding and consistent with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Public Employee Labor Relations Act, and other applicable laws.

 

G.        Completion and report routing

1.         Each investigation concludes with the preparation of a report detailing the:

a)         Background - concisely shows a chronological summary of the incident and the investigation including a summary of all statements;

b)         Credibility assessment – this section outlines what was used to assess credibility received in interviews.  This may include information obtained from video evidence, work schedules, living/work assignments, communications, medical/behavioral health data, or other relevant data sources;

c)         Report summary - a summary of the findings of fact within the specific classification.  The investigator must enumerate the allegations when there is more than one allegation; and

d)         Exhibits - including all reports, statements, photos, etc., pertinent to the investigation.

 

2.         The investigator submits the final draft report to the deputy director of OSI-investigations for review.

 

3.         Upon review, the final draft report must be sent to the assistant commissioner of facility services for review and approval of the report.

 

4.         Upon approval of the assistant commissioner of facility services, the report is sent back to the investigator who forwards the report to the appropriate county attorney’s office if applicable, and a copy of the report is given to the appropriate warden or unit director.  The warden may forward the report summary to the work incident review committee (WIRC).

 

5.         Individual counties still maintain discretion of charging.

 

6.         Adjudication - the appointing authority makes the final disposition of employee, volunteer, or contractor misconduct allegations based upon the report provided by the investigator and other relevant factors.

 

7.         Responses to requests for access to data are handled in accordance with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

 

H.        Pending investigations - information about pending investigations is confidential and is disclosed as required by law.

 

I.          Report storage and retention

1.         Physical file storage

a)         Individual investigators maintain files of investigations (either hard copy or electronic) until final disposition of the outcome of the investigation. 

b)         All closed investigative files, exhibits, and evidence must be maintained in the ACISS case management system..

 

2.         Electronic file storage

a)         OSI investigative data must not be stored on areas that would be subject to unauthorized access. 

b)         Work in progress must be backed up on the DOC server to protect from damage or loss.

 

3.         Copies of reports

a)         Upon the completion of an investigation, only one copy of an investigative report and attachments must be prepared. 

b)         All original documents and evidence must remain in the custody of the individual investigator until the final disposition of the outcome of the case. 

c)         Upon the final disposition of the outcome of the case, the investigative evidence may be disposed of in accordance with Policy 301.035, “Evidence Management.” 

d)         The completed investigation report and applicable documents must be given to HR management staff.

 

4.         Any request for duplication of the investigative report must be made to the appropriate HR management staff.

 

J.         Records retention

1.         Upon the final disposition of the outcome of the case, OSI transfers the investigative report to the appropriate HR management staff. 

 

2.         OSI retains the complete case file with the applicable evidence.

 

3.         HR management staff keep the investigative case file according to the HR retention schedule.

 

INTERNAL CONTROLS

A.        Investigatory documents are retained by HR according to the appropriate retention schedule.

 

B.        The completed case files and applicable evidence are retained by OSI.

 

REVIEW:      Annually

 

REFERENCES:        Policy 103.300, “Discrimination-free Workplace”

Policy 301.035, “Evidence Management”

Garrity v New Jersey, 385 U.S. 93, 875.Ct.616, 17L.Ed.2nd 562 (1967)

Data Practices Disclosure Notice for Investigation/Tennessen Advisory

 

SUPERSESSION:     Policy 107.100, “Internal Affairs – Office of Special Investigations,”2/2/16.

All unit and facility policies, memos, or other communications whether verbal, written, or transmitted by electronic means regarding this topic.

 

ATTACHMENTS:    None

 

/s/

Deputy Commissioner, Community Services

 

Deputy Commissioner, Facility Services