- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - Union contracts, state laws and departmental directives often offer police extra protections when they are accused of wrongdoing on the grounds that their jobs are uniquely dangerous. Critics say the shields tailored for officers create an impression that the scales of justice are tipped in favor of police.

The kinds of protections can differ from city to city. Here’s a look at some of them:

- Requirements to show officers transcripts of initial interviews before interviewing them a second time, which critics say make it difficult to flag inconsistencies.

- In some cities, statements an officer makes at the scene of a police shooting can’t be used against that officer later in any criminal investigation.

- Prohibitions against civilians interviewing officers, which critics say can preclude the kind of closer civilian oversight reformers want.

- Internal investigators in some cities have to wait for hours or days before they can question officers. It’s often two days; in Maryland, it’s 10.

- Requirements that complaints against officers be destroyed after a certain period. In Chicago, that’s supposed to happen after five years.

- Bans on launching inquiries on the basis of anonymous complaints. Critics say those complaints can expose serious wrongdoing.

- Rules that if officers aren’t shown existing video of an incident before being interviewed, they can’t be disciplined for lying even if they did lie.


Sources: Union contracts, state statutes, AP interviews.

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