your constitutional rights

Garrity Rights

VCOPS Constitutional Protection Statement

Every  experienced police officer or deputy sheriff has faced the unsettling  prospect of being interviewed as a part of an internal affairs  investigation. In most departments three principles appear well settled  in cases in which the officer has been protected from criminal charges:

1.  An officer can be ordered to participate in such an investigation;

2.  An officer can be required to give a statement, oral or written, at times recorded, transcribed and sworn;

3.  Whatever statements are made may be used against the officer in later disciplinary proceedings.

Officers  in such situations should be informed that they have the right to make a  statement protecting their rights. In at least one jurisdiction such a  statement has been printed onto the internal affairs statement form; in  others the statement has been printed up on wallet sized cards and  carried by individual members. Finally, a number of officers have read  or written the statement when giving taped interviews, or written on all  statements that they sign.

As a condition of employment you are  required to abide by the rules and regulations. You must answer  questions, give statements, and submit reports at the order of an  investigating officer, or become subject to disciplinary action for  refusal to obey. It is suggested that you include the procedure outlined  here when making statements or submitting reports concerning complaints  from citizens, or when you are suspected of a violation of the law or  the rules and regulations. By doing so you will ensure that your  statements and reports cannot be used as evidence against you in any  proceedings before any agency bound by the rules of evidence. The  procedure suggested is lawful and proper. Each individual officer must  decide for himself if he is going to use it. Our advice is that we all  use the procedure all of the time. This way there will be no special  stigma on its use. Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry, and  it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and it not have  it.

"No man need be ashamed, nor should he be afraid, to demand and protect his Constitutional rights."

Constitutional Protection Statement:

"On  ___________(date) ___________(time) at _____________(place) I was  ordered to submit this report (give this statement) by  _____________________(name & rank). I submit this report (give this  statement) at his order as a condition of my employment. In view of  possible job forfeiture, I have no alternative but to abide by this  order."

"It is my belief and understanding that the department  requires this report (statement) solely and exclusively for internal  purposes and will not release it to any other agency. It is my further  belief that this report (statement) will not and cannot be used against  me in any subsequent proceedings. I authorize release of this report to  my attorney or designated union representative."

"I retain the  right to amend or change this statement upon reflection to correct any  unintended mistake without subjecting myself to a charge of  untruthfulness."

"For any and all other purposes, I hereby  reserve my constitutional right to remain silent under the FIFTH and  FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS to the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION and any other  rights PRESCRIBED by law. Further, I rely specifically upon the  protection afforded me under the doctrines set forth in Garrity v. New  Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), and Spevack v. Klien, 385 U.S. 551 (1956),  should this report (statement) be used for any other purpose of  whatsoever kind or description."

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