I spent most of last week on a much-needed vacation, hence why I am just getting around to posting this update. The only day I came back to Brunswick County was Tuesday for a County Commissioners’ workshop and meeting (rescheduled from Monday due to the Labor Day holiday). As soon as the meeting was over I tracked down the Citizens’ Academy group, which was just wrapping up a tour of the Detention Center. If I had to miss any part of the Citizens Academy, the jail tour was a good session to miss given that Commissioner Pat Sykes and I toured the facility shortly after taking office.
I caught up with the group at the Courthouse, where District Court Judge Marion Warren was explaining the ins and outs of the Court system. Judge Warren provided an excellent overview of how North Carolina’s Court system is structured, the roles of each level within our Court system, and the types of things he sees in a typical day (if there is such a thing) in the Courthouse. Judge Warren invited attendees to come observe the Court proceedings at some point.
After Judge Warren’s presentation we returned to the training room at the Sheriff’s Office, where Sergeant Mark Francisco provided us with an overview of the Professional Standards (aka Internal Affairs) division.
Sgt. Francisco pointed out one important distinction between the investigations his division conducts and those conducted by other divisions: internal affairs investigations are NOT criminal investigations. If an internal affairs investigation reveals criminal misconduct, it is then handed off to a criminal investigator.
Sgt. Francisco described internal affairs’ role as ensuring that the Sheriff’s policies and procedures are being followed properly. For example, they conduct routine “use of force investigations” after police shootings and other incidents in which force is reviewed. Any time force of any kind is used, internal affairs reviews the case to make sure it was handled properly.
This week, we are scheduled to learn about the Vice & Narcotics Division.