302 – Professional Conduct Required

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Purpose

Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) employees shall strive to gain public support and win friendly citizen cooperation for the agency’s programs and procedures in order to facilitate the accomplishment of the agency’s objectives.

Policy

The attitude of each employee shall be one of service and courtesy, but not servility or softness. In non-restrictive situations, the employee should be pleasant and personal, and on occasions calling for regulation and control, the attitude shall be firm and impersonal, avoiding even an appearance of rudeness. [CALEA Standard 26.1.1]

An exemplary employee:

  1. Always strives to be in compliance with department policies;
  2. Completes a forty (40) hour work week unless excused;
  3. Knows his or her immediate supervisor and the duty requirements and responsibilities;
  4. Returns to his or her duty station on time after lunch and breaks;
  5. Works diligently and to the best of his or her ability;
  6. Remains at his or her assigned duty area during duty hours unless assigned elsewhere by a supervisor;
  7. Always conducts him- or herself in a courteous and businesslike manner during duty hours;
  8. Complies with directions given by a supervisor;
  9. Maintains a satisfactory standard of performance necessary for his or her work assignment;
  10. Refrains from conducting unauthorized meetings, distributing literature, or soliciting employees for political activities or non-profit organizations during duty hours unless authorized by competent authority;
  11. Works overtime when required;
  12. Reports any unsafe act or condition to his or her supervisor; and
  13. Reports any injury sustained on duty to a competent authority.

Employee Behavior

Avoid excessive absenteeism or tardiness particularly in conjunction with regular scheduled days off.

Do not smoke in areas where smoking is prohibited.

Do not deface or damage county property.

Avoid the use of county telephones for personal matters, except in necessary and emergency situations.

Do not use intoxicating beverages while on duty, except as may be plausible in the performance of duty.

Do not participate in or encourage others to call in or to participate in an illegal work slowdown or work sick-out.

Do not participate in public displays of affection while in uniform or while on duty.

Do not take excessive tobacco breaks.

Do not abuse sick time or workers’ compensation.

Professionalism

The Sheriff and HCSO personnel have certain responsibilities to the citizens and other governmental agencies of Harris County. The Sheriff intends to ensure that these responsibilities are discharged in a professional manner. [CALEA Standard 26.1.1]

A professional is a person who possesses the following traits:

  1. Honesty,
  2. Common sense,
  3. Competency,
  4. Integrity,
  5. Loyalty,
  6. Courage,
  7. Credibility,
  8. Proper personal hygiene (well-groomed and attired)
  9. Decisiveness,
  10. Dedication,
  11. Responsibility, and
  12. Equitability.

Employees will adhere to the following rules of professional conduct at all times:

  1. Addressing Ranking Deputies: When in the presence of the public, each employee shall address fellow employees by rank or by title (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Deputy, Sergeant, Lieutenant, etc.) as the circumstances warrant.
  2. Conduct in Making Arrests or Towards a Prisoner: Each deputy must be firm, resolute, and zealous in effecting arrests. When using force becomes necessary in making an arrest or restraining a prisoner, the deputy shall use only that degree of force necessary under the circumstances. In every arrest or incident where force is used, the facts surrounding the arrest and the use of force shall be fully included in a written report submitted by the employee to the appropriate supervisor by the end of the employee’s duty shift.
  3. Duty to Give Statements: During the course of any official investigation, an employee shall, if requested or ordered to do so, immediately give a full, complete, and truthful statement. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action.
  4. Duty to Report Information: Each employee shall promptly report any information given to him or her in good faith by any citizen that indicates the need for action by the HCSO.
  5. Exclusive Service: The HCSO is entitled to the exclusive service of its employees. Personnel may not work (either directly or indirectly) for other criminal justice agencies (other than in an approved extra job capacity).
    • Within this context, “work” means to provide a service, paid or voluntary, as a regular or reserve deputy or detention officer or other civilian employee except as required.
  6. Handling of Monies and Property: All monies or other property rightfully belonging to a third party that comes into the possession of any employee shall be delivered to the appropriate custodian and properly recorded.
  7. Information to Citizens: Employees shall respond to requests for public information in a courteous and accurate manner. In so responding, employees shall disclose only that information deemed public. No employee shall make inquiry of the party requesting such public information beyond establishing the party’s identity and the precise nature of the information being sought.
  8. Police Action: All deputies, whether on or off duty, shall report and take proper action in any situation requiring law enforcement action. Each deputy shall have an approved firearm that he or she has been authorized to carry as a result of successful firearm qualification, his or her HCSO badge, and his or her HCSO identification card in his or her possession at all times.
  9. Duty to Provide Official Identification: All deputies shall present their HCSO identification card when requested by a member of the public when engaged in law enforcement activities or when in uniform. (Executive Order)
    • Personnel engaged in covert operations are exempt from this requirement.
  10. Bearing: While on duty, in uniform or otherwise, deputies shall maintain a military bearing.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009

December 2, 2020

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