Any internal investigation the Auburn Police Department launches stems from a serious allegation, for instance, a policy violation, a use-of-force complaint, a serious bias complaint.
Given the 96,000 calls to which Auburn Police officers responded in 2018 and the 5,092 arrests they made and the 3,218 offenders they booked into SCORE jail and the 11,483 citations they issued, the APD conducted a mere seven internal investigations in 2018.
As Police Cmdr. Steve Stocker told the City Council on Monday evening, six of those seven internal investigations arose from within the department, having nothing to do with outside complaints.
“Only having seven, and those coming from us, is really a testament to what our officers are doing out there,” Stocker said. “We don’t have any serious allegations of complaints coming in from citizens, and we’re actually fairly proud of that.”
Of course, he added, police are human, they make mistakes, and some of their missteps are serious. When an officer does wrong, he said, the department holds him or her accountable. Indeed, in 2018, the APD handed down three suspensions, issued one written reprimand, subjected 27 to counseling and one officer who had been the subject of an investigation resigned before the inquiry could conclude.
This information is contained in the APD’s 2018 Inspectional Services Reports, which Stocker compiles every year and presents to the council.
The numbers for 2018 tracked:
• 20 police collisions, 14 of them preventable, resulting in one written reprimand and 13 corrective coaching sessions. Those numbers were down from 41 such collisions in 2017, 29 of them preventable.
• While use-of-force incidents increased from 217 in 2017 to 252 in 2018, excessive force allegations decreased from seven in 2017 to two in 2018. None of the allegations was sustained.
• The total number of commendations handed out decreased from 99 in 2017 to 71 in 2018, in part breaking down into five letters of commendation
in 2017 and one in 2018,
15 commendations for
life saving in 2017 and
seven in 2018, and one medal of valor in 2018 (related to a police shooting) contrasting with none in 2017.