In most jurisdictions, local police departments typically conduct internal investigations of police officer misconduct complaints.72 However, 79% of Americans would prefer that an “outside law enforcement agency take over the investigation” when an officer is suspected of criminal wrongdoing. Alternatively, 21% favor police departments conducting internal investigations of their own officers.
The proposal to have outside investigations of misconduct enjoys broad public support. Overwhelming majorities across demographics and partisan groups, including majorities of blacks (82%), whites (81%), Hispanics (66%), Democrats (83%), independents (77%), and Republicans (76%), all favor outside investigations and prosecutions of officers accused of misconduct.
72 USCCR, “Revisiting Who Is Guarding the Guardians? A Report on Police Practices and Civil Rights in America,” U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, November 2000, http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/guard/main.htm.