The Office of Professional Standards and Conduct is what is commonly known as Internal Affairs. It is the policy of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office to thoroughly investigate all complaints of alleged employee misconduct, to properly determine whether the allegations are valid or invalid and to take appropriate follow-up action.
Captain Frank Copeland is the commander of the Office of Professional Standards. He is responsible for conducting inquiries and investigations into allegations of serious misconduct by any Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office employee.
Sheriff Stacy Nicholson believes that all efforts must be taken to build a strong, positive relationship between the handling of information concerning allegations of employee misconduct and to provide the public with a fair and effective means to redress their legitimate grievances against the agency or an individual employee.
The purpose for having such procedures is to:
- Identify practices requiring corrective measures through remedial training or policy revision
- Protect the reputation of individual employees, the agency and the public from false or misleading allegations
- Identify employees who may be involved in illegal, unethical or unprofessional conduct so that the appropriate corrective measures may be taken.
There are three types of information given by citizens concerning the practices and behavior of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office.:
An allegation is a complaint of misconduct against an officer or officers.
An inquiry is a request for information concerning the policies and procedures of the Sheriff’s Office.
A commendation is information given regarding outstanding services received from employees of the Sheriff.
Any person who wishes to lodge a complaint may do so in writing, on the telephone or in person. These complaints may or may not be anonymous. A complaint received by any employee is automatically referred to a supervisor in the grade of Sergeant or above. This supervisor in mandated to document the complaint. All complaints are then referred to the Division Commander and the Office of Professional Standards and Conduct. Minor complaints are investigated by the Division Commander. The Internal Affairs Officer reviews and monitors these complaints, as well as investigates all complaints of a more serious nature. All complaints will be weighed for validity and compared to supporting evidence.
Any time a citizen has a question concerning specific behavior or practices of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, they may call or speak to any Deputy to verify or clear up any questions. These inquiries may be received by any employee, but may be referred to a supervisor. All inquiries are documented and forwarded to the Division Commander and the Office of Professional Standards and Conduct. Any time a question is not answered satisfactorily, a citizen may request to speak to the officer’s supervisor or may call the Office of Professional Standards and Conduct at 706-635-8448.
All too often, citizens only contact the Sheriff’s Office when they have a complaint. We welcome and encourage citizens to let us know when they receive service that is more than satisfactory. We appreciate positive feedback from citizens so that we may provide positive reinforcement to employees for that behavior that is acceptable. We need to recognize not only the employees that need improvement, but also those who are an example to others. These are the employees we wish to be the future leaders and trainers of the department.