Failure of Good Behavior Causing Discredit to the Department

One of the more common allegations imposed against Peace Officers, Correctional Officers and other public employees is “Failure of Good Behavior Causing Discredit to the Department.”  This allegation may be the result of  a simple interaction between a public employee and a citizen where the citizen feels the employee acted inappropriately, to a blatant abuse of authority and disrespect.

Generally, the likelihood of discipline being issued against a public employee for “Failure of Good Behavior” appears rests on whether there was a justifiable purpose for the behavior.  For example, when an officer uses otherwise inappropriate language and a louder voice to a suspect who is being non-compliant or resistive, absent any other behavior, it is likely that it could be shown that the behavior was appropriate given the circumstances.  Conversely, if an officer or a public employee is simply frustrated with a citizen and acts disrespectfully to that citizen, it is more difficult to defend that employees actions because they are held to a higher standard as a public employee.

The bottom line is that citizens are not shy about filing complaints against public employees.  Especially, if that employee gives them a reason to.  The safest thing any public employee can do is to be cognizant of interactions with the public and refrain from discourteous behavior to them, unless the situation absolutely calls for it.