National Decertification Index (NDI) Expansion Needed to Eliminate Second Chances for Officer Misconduct
Bloomington, Ind. – Envisage Technologies, a leading provider of public safety training management systems, announces a webinar series addressing NDI and Policing Crisis to begin June 17, 2020.
With the current national policing crisis, Envisage Technologies is encouraging government and law enforcement leaders to block the rehiring of problem police officers through making the National Decertification Index (NDI) mandatory, standardized and more robust in every state, and accessible to all police departments across the country.
The NDI is a key topic in a six-part webinar series, Five Keys to Leading Through the Policing Crisis, that Envisage Technologies will offer this summer. The first session on June 17 at 2 p.m. and second session on July 1 at 2 p.m. will both include discussion of how departments can rethink hiring, including using decertification tracking and other best practices to help make effective personnel decisions. Other topics in the series will include training, compliance, team-building, leadership, intervention, transparency, case management and data-driven decision-making. More information about the free webinar series for law enforcement and government leaders can be found at info.acadis.com/5keys.
Maintained by IADLEST (International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards), the NDI is a national registry of decertified police officers. State agencies responsible for licensing or revoking law enforcement certificates are encouraged to enter their decertiﬁcation decisions into the database, where they can be reviewed by agencies considering job applications.
Envisage Technologies, which creates software solutions that simplify public safety accountability, is a partner in the NDI and supports IADLEST in efforts to maintain and expand the database. Envisage also encourages state and federal government involvement in developing a uniform and mandatory reporting standard for a truly effective national police database.
Envisage’s Acadis Readiness Suite is the only training management system that allows direct reporting to the NDI. Such a seamless approach relieves departments from the additional labor and data management tasks required to gather the information and submit it separately, thus expanding participation and improving overall compliance. Acadis is the most comprehensive public safety and compliance software for officer performance management, decertification analytics, and minimizing bias risk.
NDI Shortcomings -- Fired and Rehired
Each fatal error by a police officer has the potential to do lasting damage to individuals, a community and the entire nation. Every incident erodes police credibility and makes it harder for good cops to do a good job, creating an increasingly dangerous environment for both police and civilians.
Adding to a growing frustration is the fact that officers involved in use of force fatalities often have had previous complaints, disciplinary action, and even firings on their records. The idea that problem officers are still on the job, sometimes moving to a new area after being fired for misconduct, is the topic of a recent study published in the Yale Law Journal, which calls for a more comprehensive and unified nationwide decertification registry to keep such “wandering officers” off the U.S. police rolls.
“Wandering officers” are those who have been fired in one place and have moved to another locality to take another job in law enforcement. Often, those firings reflect serious misconduct, yet many officers manage to escape their past and find new employment. Sometimes their record is not shared by the previous department or checked by the new department. Often, the misconduct did not rate as serious enough for criminal prosecution or even serious disciplinary action, yet still would have been a red flag for any prospective employer.
The Yale Law Journal study by Ben Grunwald & John Rappaport found that in Florida alone, about 1,000 officers employed at any given time in the past few years had been fired from a previous position. And while it’s often seen as admirable to give a fellow officer a second chance, thorough statistical analysis in the Florida study found that officers who behave badly once are more likely to do so again, and that overall, the risk of hiring such officers isn’t worth it.
Tracking problem officers: In theory, it should be easy to track such officers. In nearly every state, law enforcement officers must be certified by the state. In 45 states, the government entity that certifies officers also has the power to decertify, effectively removing the officer’s license to practice.
Unfortunately, the NDI is hindered by issues of uniformity, participation and access. Five states plus the District of Columbia have no decertiﬁcation authority. Reporting to the NDI is voluntary, and as of 2015, only 38 states contributed to the database, often with no regularity. When hiring, most local agencies cannot query the NDI directly and must rely on their state POST boards, which do not always take the time to check the database. Such a piecemeal approach does not provide the widespread benefits originally intended.
Expanded, standardized, and mandatory: Clearly, what is needed is a more robust, standardized, mandatory, and broader-reaching national decertiﬁcation database. In 2015, the Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended the creation of such a database to identify officers whose law enforcement licenses were revoked due to misconduct. Both police and academic sources agree that a more uniform and mandatory tracking system could help agencies avoid hiring problem officers.
The police industry also needs to agree on what constitutes misconduct. In many states, it is difficult to fire an officer for cause, and prosecutors are reluctant to press charges against an officer they may see as an ally. Some states require a criminal conviction before an officer can be decertiﬁed, and therefore such actions are rare.
Another key goal is to expand the scope of the national database to include all misconduct-related terminations, and perhaps all involuntary terminations or all separations of any kind, regardless of whether they resulted in decertification. This would resemble the National Practitioner Databank (NPDB), which tracks not only medical malpractice and fraud but also certain disciplinary actions. If the expense of participating in such a system is burdensome to small departments, perhaps states or the federal government should consider subsidizing or otherwise assisting local agencies.
About the Five Keys to Leading Through the Policing Crisis Webinar Series, What Leaders Can Do Now to Ensure Success Tomorrow: Join Envisage Technologies, creators of the Acadis Readiness Suite, for a series of critical conversations exploring the keys to building and managing tomorrow’s police department (to register, visit https://info.acadis.com/5keys/).
The webinar series will include:
- June 17, 2 p.m. ET – Session 1, Five Keys to Leading Through the Policing Crisis (Overview). Rethink Hiring, Start with Outcomes in Mind, Get Started Right and Running Strong, Transparency is No Longer Optional, Think Bigger.
- July 1, 2 p.m. ET – Session 2, Rethink Hiring. Review perspectives, trends, decertification tracking, and best practices to help you make better personnel decisions.
- July 15, 2 p.m. ET – Session 3, Start with Outcomes in Mind. Choose the right mission focus, most effective policies, best police training, and smartest approaches to compliance.
- July 29, 11 a.m. ET – Session 4, Culture Matters. Cultivate more effective teams through culture building, onboarding, FTO, officer performance management, monitoring, and intervention.
- August 12, 2 p.m. ET – Session 5: Transparency is No Longer Optional. Discover best practices for body cameras, public interactions, use-of-force protocols, and case management.
- August 26, 2 p.m. ET – Session 6: Think Bigger. Learn how data-driven leadership and an understanding of connections between people, technology, and organizations is critical to tomorrow’s law enforcement world.
About Envisage Technologies: Envisage was founded in 2001 to automate the complex training operations for first responders, fire, law enforcement, and the military. We create solutions that make our world a safer place. Our mission is to improve the readiness of our nation’s public safety professionals to ensure they come home alive. The company’s Acadis training, testing, and compliance software platform leads the industry, serving over 1.9 million first responders across 9,800 public safety organizations, including both federal, state and local agencies. Our clients include federal law enforcement agencies, including the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, and many state law enforcement, fire and other public safety organizations. Further information about Envisage may be found at www.envisagenow.com or by calling 888-313-8324.
About the Acadis Readiness Suite: The Acadis Readiness Suite is designed to make certain that our public safety and military professionals are trained, equipped and ready to respond. Acadis measures readiness by automating complex, high-risk training and compliance operations. Acadis increases the accuracy and effectiveness across every level of critical incident response by consolidating information about personnel and resources. The modular system enables organizations to implement functionality where needed to support the entire compliance life-cycle. Acadis embodies a single, powerful idea: To make certain our first responders come home alive. See www.acadis.com for more information.