Created in a partnership between Envisage Technologies and the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST), the National Decertification Index (NDI) is a powerful tool in preventing rehire of officers terminated for cause.

But even with increased awareness of the NDI and its ability to address police misconduct, many agencies and members of the public still have questions.

In the webinar “Everything You Need to Know About the Existing National Registry for Police Misconduct,” Ari Vidali (Envisage Technologies), Mike Becar (IADLEST), Bob Griffiths (Alaska Police Standards Council), and Brian Grisham (Tennessee POST) discussed the essential NDI topics.

Attendees submitted additional questions, which Mike Becar has addressed below.

IADLEST Executive Director Mike Becar has over 11 years with the organization. Becar spent 27 years at Idaho POST before retiring in 2007, and before that, he worked for the Caldwell, Idaho, Police Department as a patrol sergeant and shift commander for 12 years.

NDI Questions and Answers

  1. Is every jurisdiction required to certify peace officers? If not, how are officers who did not need to be certified but have been fired for cause tracked?

Becar: “Four states do not have any authority to decertify officers: Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California. California does certify its officers, but they are prohibited from decertifying any officer by statute. There is no method for national tracking for officers in these states.”

  1. What is the average time between a decertification and when the certifying agency reports it to NDI?

Becar: “We don’t track that information, but some decertifications can take a year or more before they are finalized. The POST agency usually enters them once they are final, but some POST agencies also enter a person as being under investigation, then update the status once the investigation is complete.”

  1. Does the agency get a notification from NDI when an officer is entered into the system?

Becar: “The NDI does not notify agencies of any entry. Agencies would need to stay in touch with the state POST that is investigating the officer and processing their decertification. Generally, officers who are being decertified have resigned or been terminated from their agency, so it would be up to the agency to stay in contact with the POST if they wanted to know when the officer was entered into the NDI.”

  1. If an officer is suspended and then placed on probation by a POST, does that show after the probation period has passed?

Becar: “The POST can enter suspensions into the NDI, and they receive an automated message every few months to update or remove any suspensions still in the system. I would suggest concerned individuals contact the relevant POST to ask if they are listed in the system. Reinstatements can also be entered into the NDI.”

  1. Are officers allowed to appeal to the NDI for corrections?

Becar: “Officers who have been decertified have been afforded due process. Any further appeals would have to be made to the decertifying agency, not IADLEST. Each state POST agency that enters records has the ability to edit or delete records.”

  1. If the George Floyd Act passes, a system like the NDI will be required. What can we do to help the NDI become that system rather than have the federal government try to build a new system?

Becar: “We are having several conversations with Congressional staff who are drafting the George Floyd Act. They are aware of the NDI and are encouraging us to enhance it to meet the qualifications of the act. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already given IADLEST a grant to enhance the NDI for this purpose. A committee was assembled to recommend enhancements for the NDI, and many concerns of the DOJ and the Congressional staff were addressed.”

  1. Can a third-party company that conducts background investigations gain access?

Becar: “Yes, provided they conduct background investigations for law enforcement agencies and those law enforcement agencies support their request. The final decision on authorized query access is made by the POST commission in that state.”

  1. Can 911 centers get access to the NDI to report revoked certifications?

Becar: “If the POST in your state can revoke certifications of communications personnel for misconduct, then they have the ability to enter these into the NDI. NDI access is provided to hiring authorities to use when performing background investigations on potential candidates with previous law enforcement experience.”

  1. Will the database be expanded to include U.S. Territories?

Becar: “U.S. Territories already have the ability to enter decertification actions, if they have that authority in their statutes.”

Posted on Jun 8, 2021