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Inside Internal Affairs: An In-Depth Look at the People, Process & Politics

Inside Internal Affairs: An In-Depth Look at the People, Process & Politics. By John F. Hein, CPP. Looseleaf Law Publications, Available from ASIS, item #2136; 262 pages; $25 (ASIS member); $28 (nonmember).

There are two ways to look at this book. It might be viewed as an informative and well-researched look at internal affairs (IA) units inside law enforcement agencies. Or it could be seen as a template for how to conduct internal investigations—it’s this latter view that might serve security professionals. Because it provides insight into the police mentality—and many security officers are former law enforcement officers—it will help the security manager understand their motives, behaviors, and perceptions toward internal investigations.

Author John Hein offers insights from his 30-year career as an investigative professional in county, military, and federal law enforcement. He has asked the tough questions necessary to determine whether officers, agents, and civilians have violated policies or the law. It’s clear from his case studies, court citations, and interrogative methodology that he is familiar with the processes and goals of an internal investigation.

The book explores the history of the IA function in law enforcement, the need for IA units, IA methodology, hiring problems, the investigative process, the future of IA, and the movement toward more employee scrutiny, via computer systems and software, cameras, policies, and more. The book is written in a textbook style, with study questions at the end of each chapter, case studies, and suggested readings.

Inside Internal Affairs could serve as a guide for security practitioners who must take on the challenge of investigating guards, or guard supervisors, who may have engaged in theft, weapons violations, inappropriate use of force, false arrests, drug use, and other violations. Because security officers may be reluctant to cooperate with any internal investigation involving themselves or their peers, these cases require the skills of a seasoned investigator. While issues like Miranda rights, Garrity warnings, and the Peace Officers Bill of Rights won’t apply to private-sector security employees, these same employees may be familiar with them, based on their prior experience in law enforcement.

The key to success when using this book is not to duplicate the efforts of internal affairs investigations in police work, but rather to use their tools—discretion, honesty, fairness, ethics, good judgment, and high standards—and to require them from all employees in security organizations.

Reviewer: Steve Albrecht, CPP, is a San Diego-based author and threat assessment expert. He worked for the San Diego Police Department from 1984 to 1999. His books include Ticking Bombs; Fear and Violence on the Job; and Tactical Perfection for Street Cops.