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Unity of command basically means that each police officer is only accountable to one superior officer at any one given time. Exceptions include assignments or line-of-duty emergencies.
It is the traditional approach to police duties. The chain of command is to be strictly followed.
The police officer has to answer a very specific superior. Thus authority is very clear. The point from where instructions have come to the officer is also clear.
Also, the superior is responsible for his actions and instructions. His professional reputation and his career are at stake in case of allegations of abuse,misuse of deadly force, bribery or discrimination against any group of citizens.
Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
Authority and responsibility play the following roles
) No supervisor may order an officer to perform an illegal action.
2) A supervisory officer implements disciplinary actions on any subordinate at the direction of their own supervisory officer or the chief. The unity of commandstructure also allows unions representing officers to pinpoint any possible abuse or misconduct (within the chain of command) in requiring corrective action or termination. This system holds that any deficiencies in internal policy or training can be readily isolated with a certain level of ease, thus increasing efficiency and accountability within the police force.
3) Within internal affairs, supervisory officers account for any disciplinary action or couseling sessions with officers by filling out a Supervisor's report or counseling memo. Documentation is key to accountability, both for the supervisor and the subordinate. If counseling fails to reform the offending party, the supervisor can draft a Performance Improvement Plan that will be forwarded through the chain of command to the Chief of Police for final approval.
4) For issues between officers and the public, the unity of command structure ensures that supervisors are held accountable for the officers who serve under their leadership. For example, supervisors can be held liable for negligent retention if they allow an officer they know to be a risk to the public to stay on duty.
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