Statements from law enforcement usually carry a lot of weight in a court room or during pretrial negotiations. These officers’ jobs are to protect and serve as well as relay the details of a case in a way that is factual and unbiased. This, however, is not always the case. Sometimes law enforcement is guilty of lying under oath, abuse of power or corruption.
It now appears that movement among newly elected District Attorneys to blacklist officers who prove unreliable with the facts. This list is generally referred to as a “do not call” list but has other names as well. It has infuriated Police Unions and law enforcement officials, but the DAs have the power to dictate which cases they take, and thus avoiding those where the officer has proven unreliable on the witness stand.
What this means to the officers
The police unions are very powerful in many communities, which means that officers will not be fired or face serious penalties. However, these lists and the reputation it unofficially publicizes means that officers are held accountable in other ways:
- It can lead to an officer’s transfer to a desk job
- The officer’s career can stall with little hope for advancement in rank
- The officer’s reputation follows them even when they transfer to jobs in other districts
Defense attorneys also hold officers accountable
District Attorneys are frustrated if they are trying to prosecute a case that has holes in it. However, it is also the job of the defense to recognize these holes and point them out. This helps to protect the rights and freedoms of their clients, and may even help put officers on the blacklist.