Public Safety agencies can request or order a current sworn certified law enforcement officer (i.e., deputy, police officer, corrections officer, etc.) to undergo a Fitness for Duty evaluation to determine if the person is behaving in a manner that would interfere with his/her ability to function effectively on the job, and in a manner conducive to public safety and the safety of fellow employees.
Referrals for fitness for duty is appropriate in two situations. The first would be after an incident, either on or off the job, where an officer’s judgment or behavior raises serious concerns about his/her ability to safely perform the job. The second would be when an officer’s job performance or behavior on or off the job results in supervisory, co-worker or public doubt about the officer’s competence, and it is brought to the attention of the officer’s superior. Examples of the former include incidents such as excessive force, DUI, automobile accidents, arrests, fights and domestic violence. Examples of the latter include on or off the job behaviors such as excessive absences or sick time abuse; anger toward co-workers; suspected alcohol or drug use; excessive citizen, inmate or co-worker complaints or refusal to obey normal orders.
Some reasons for referrals after an incident:
- Excessive force
- Shooting incident
- Officer receives a DUI
- Automobile accident
- Officer is arrested
- Domestic violence
Some reasons for referrals based on unusual behavior:
- Excessive absenteeism
- Serious, flagrant sick leave abuse
- Anger towards co-workers
- Overly suspicious attitude
- Suspected alcohol or drug use
- Excessive citizen complaints
- Refusal to obey normal orders
The goal of a fitness for duty evaluation is to get the officer back to work and functioning well. The process for conducting Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations is provided in the flow chart below.