Attorneys may find it useful to review police procedure manuals to understand the applicable rules of conduct for the relevant law enforcement entity in their case. These rules are referred to as “policies and procedures,” “general orders,” “general directives,” “codes of conduct,” or “manuals.” Many police departments across the state have their manuals available for public viewing online, though the manuals for the various county sheriffs’ offices seem to be less commonly available.
In many cases, police departments and sheriffs’ offices choose to pursue accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which requires compliance with certain standards and annual review. General information on the accreditation process and standards can be found here. It is likely that a CALEA-accredited department would have written standards.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the law enforcement entities in the most highly-populated areas of the state, with links to online manuals if they are available. Even if the manuals have not been made available online, many law enforcement entities have made reference to such manuals in documents that are publicly available, so attorneys could request them through discovery or through a public records request.
- Asheville (scroll to “Department Policies & Forms”)
- Cary – no code available, but follows CALEA standards (re-accredited in 2015).
- Chapel Hill
- High Point – Unavailable.
- Kernersville – Unavailable.
- Raleigh (only “guiding principles” available)
- Wilmington – Body Cam and Vehicle Cam standards available (per CALEA).
- Winston-Salem – Unavailable.
- Buncombe – Unavailable.
- Cabarrus – Unavailable, though adhering to the “Sheriff’s Procedures and Policies” is listed as a goal in an office document (page 239).
- Cumberland – Doesn’t list manual, but is CALEA accredited.
- Forsyth – Doesn’t list manual, but is CALEA accredited.
- Guilford – Unavailable.
- Iredell – no manual available for the sheriff’s office, but the Forensic Services Guide is available here.
- Johnston – Unavailable, but code of ethics available online.
- Mecklenburg – Unavailable.
- New Hanover – Unavailable.
- Onslow – Unavailable.
- Scotland – Unavailable.
- Union – Unavailable.
- Wake – Unavailable, though a portion of an old version is available here