Traditionally, prosecutors do not use a centralized mechanism to track police misconduct. Instead, line prosecutors primarily share information with each other about problematic officers by word-of-mouth, and anecdotally, if at all. As a result, a prosecutor’s office that does not have a formal system to track police misconduct risks having prosecutors fail to comply with their legal obligations. To systematically track police misconduct, a growing number of prosecutors are creating internal police disclosure lists, or databases of police officers with a history of wrongdoing.
The Tracking Police Misconduct Action Guide explains why it is crucial to have a police disclosure list, and details the most important issues to consider when creating one. To produce this guide, the IIP interviewed high-ranking prosecutors throughout the country. Our hope is that upon reviewing this guide, prosecutors will develop or improve upon their own mechanisms for tracking police misconduct. By following these recommendations, prosecutors can fulfill their ethical duties and hold the police accountable, while also protecting the due process rights of police officers.