Policy & Procedure Management System

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This directive is for internal use only and does not enlarge an employee’s civil liability in any way. The directive should not be construed as creating a higher duty of care, in an evidentiary sense, with respect to third party civil claims against employees. Violations of this directive, if proven, can only form the basis of a complaint by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for non-judicial administrative action in accordance with the rules and laws governing employee discipline.
DIRECTIVE TYPE: Policy SUBJECT: Policy & Procedure Management System NUMBER: ADMN-122.02
APPROVED BY: Sheriff Ken Christesen NMLEA STANDARDS: Not Applicable


The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office has adopted a comprehensive set of policies and procedures which address the specifics of operating the agency both administratively and operationally. The contents of these policies and procedures contribute to the overall achievement of the mission and limit the inconsistency of operations by: defining performance expectations, ensuring conformity to legal standards, institutionalizing best practices, and establishing a basis for accountability. These directives are living documents which require regular inspection and updates to provide personnel with the guidance and knowledge required for professional community service.


The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office will maintain up-to-date policies and procedures in order to guide and direct. Policies and procedures are provided to all employees to ensure knowledge of, and conformity to, agency requirements. Furthermore, the Sheriff’s Office will review the policies and procedures on, at minimum, an annual basis and make revisions as necessary.


The following definitions will apply for the purposes of this policy:

  • Policy – A broad statement of agency principles which guide and influence decisions as well as provide a framework for the development of procedures.

  • Procedure – A description of how policies are implemented and carried out. Procedures usually address the who, what, when, and how components of policy implementation.

  • Security Related Policy – Any Sheriff’s Office policy or procedure which contains information regarding tactics, operations, or any other material which reveals information that, if obtained by a person with malicious intent, could jeopardize the safety of a Sheriff’s Office employee, the citizens they serve, or compromise an investigation.



The Sheriff is responsible to approve all policies and procedures prior to distribution to employees.

The Sheriff or Undersheriff may delegate a staff member to be responsible for overseeing the maintenance of all policies and procedures to include:

  • A complete set of all policies and procedures;
  • A record of policies deferred for further action;
  • A record of the command staff and legal review of each policy; and
  • Documentation of annual reviews.


Policies and procedures are divided into five categorical sections. These are:

  • Administrative (ADMN) – The Administrative section covers those law enforcement operations that are involved with the day-to-day management of the organization. This includes, but is not limited to, the agency mission, goals, and public service role. Administrative policies are preceded with ADMN.

  • Operational (OPER) – The Operational section covers those law enforcement areas where direct service delivery is most often found such as patrol, criminal investigations, and court security. Operational policies are preceded with OPER.

  • Personnel (PERS) – The Personnel section includes policies that govern employment, career opportunities, and the work environment. Personnel policies are preceded with PERS.

  • Information Technology (IT) – The Information Technology section addresses the IT and related security systems utilized by the Sheriff’s Office. Information Technology policies are preceded with IT.

  • Training (TRNG) – The training section specifically addresses the training function and critical topics within such to include field training, advanced training, and in-service training. Training policies are preceded with TRNG.

Policy numbers will follow the format of: XXXX-###.##

XXXX refers to the category as denoted above.

### refers to the assigned subject number. Each category is assigned a range of numbers for use. These assignments are:

  • ADMN: 100 – 299
  • OPER: 300 – 499
  • PERS: 500 – 599
  • IT: 600 - 699
  • TRNG: 700 – 799
  • 800 – 999 are reserved for future use.

.## refers to the revision number. All policies should begin at .00 and increase sequentially with each published revision.

Oftentimes policies cross-reference each other. In these cases, the policies will be referred to by the category and subject number only. This allows for cross references to stay up-to-date.


Occasionally, the Sheriff’s Office may determine the need for a new policy to be developed. New policy formulation carries with it a multi-layered responsibility which includes a duty to protect the public, Sheriff’s Office employees, and San Juan County. New policies should be carefully developed to address operational or administrative concerns and not impulsively based on isolated incidents.

The Sheriff or his designee may form, at their discretion, a committee of personnel to serve in a policy formulation panel. Policies and procedures may be developed by a single, qualified employee or in a committee style. However conducted, the policy development process will:

  • Thoroughly review and evaluate the need for the new policy to include, but not limited to, changes to the law, best practices, agency needs, etc.;
  • Consider proposals submitted by employees for the creation of a new policy; and
  • Prepare the new policy and procedure to be forwarded through the chain of command for review and adoption.


Under direct supervision of the Administrative Captain, the Sheriff’s Office will conduct an annual policy and procedure review. This process observes the distinction between evaluation of the policy content and evaluation of compliance with the policy. Such review is a method of identifying deficiencies in policy and learning whether certain elements of the policy or procedure are dysfunctional or no longer needed. Nothing in this provision should be construed as requiring a delay in initiating necessary and immediate change to a policy.

The Sheriff or his designee may form, at their discretion, a committee of personnel to serve in a policy review/revision panel. Policies and procedures may be reviewed and revised by a single, qualified employee or in a committee style. However conducted, the process will:

  • Thoroughly review and evaluate existing policies to include, but not limited to, a consideration of compliance, changes to the law, best practices, agency needs, etc.;
  • Consider proposals submitted by employees for revision to existing policies; and
  • Prepare the revised policies and procedures to be forwarded through the chain of command for review and adoption.

All employees are encouraged to participate in policy and procedure development through comments and suggestions. A policy and procedure suggestion form is provided for employees to suggest problems, note errors, or make other proposals. The final point of collection for these suggestions is the staff member responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the policies and procedures. Once received, these suggestions will be reviewed to determine if an immediate revision is necessary or if the suggestion should be held for the annual review.

After the development of, or revision to, a Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure, the directive will be forwarded to specific personnel for a draft review. This review should include:

  • Any specific employee(s) whose division may be directly affected by, or is a subject matter expert of, the policy and procedure topic;
  • San Juan County Legal Department;
  • Sheriff’s Office captains;
  • Undersheriff; and
  • Sheriff.

For policies that are more complex or critical in nature, the Sheriff or Undersheriff may choose to seek outside legal review.

After completing a full draft review, the policy and procedure should be returned to the individual or committee in charge of completing any necessary revision(s). There may be times when this review process is completed multiple times in order to achieve a sound directive.


Policies created or revised after March 2018 will indicate who the policy applies to. All policies are accessible to all employees, however, only those which are deemed applicable will the employee be responsible for knowing. Applicability categories are:

  • Entire Agency (SO)
  • Animal Control (AC)
  • Certified (LE)
  • Civilians (CI)
  • Command Staff (CS)
  • Reserves (RE)
  • Volunteers (VO)


Distribution of policies and procedures may be in the form of hard copy or electronic format. All San Juan County Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures are available for review by employees at the time of employment and any time thereafter via unhindered electronic access.

All new or revised policies and procedures are distributed in advance of the effective date to ensure all employees are able to follow directives as required. Upon receiving any new or revised policy, each employee must review the policy and sign an acknowledgment of understanding. This acknowledgment of understanding will be documented for each employee.

It is the responsibility of each employee to attend scheduled policy trainings, read electronically distributed policies, and sign the acknowledgment of understanding. Signing the acknowledgment of understanding indicates the employee has been provided access to the policy and has had an opportunity to seek clarification for any provision not fully understood. Therefore, employees should not sign this acknowledgment until they fully understand the contents of the specific policy.

Understanding the benefits of operating in a transparent fashion, all policies and procedures, not deemed to be a security related policy, will be published on the Sheriff’s Office website for the public to access.

The Sheriff’s Office will not publically publish any policy and/or procedure identified as a security related policy by the Sheriff or his or her designee. The release of such law enforcement information into the public domain compromises the safety and security of employees and the citizens of San Juan County.


Master copies of policies and procedures are maintained by the Executive Office Assistant and the staff member responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the policies and procedures. These master copies are available for review by employees and other authorized persons.


The policies and procedures implemented by the Sheriff’s Office have been carefully constructed utilizing legal standards, best practices, and in conjunction with the San Juan County Employee Handbook. Due to the unique nature of law enforcement and operational capabilities, there exists a possibility that a discrepancy may be found between Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures and San Juan County’s directives. In these cases, certified Sheriff’s Office personnel are expected to abide by Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures while civilian personnel should adhere to San Juan County’s directives.

When a Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure does not exist for a specific circumstance which is covered by a San Juan County directive, all employees should defer to the latter for guidance and direction.

In the event a specific division within the agency maintains separate policies due to an operational need, deputies assigned to that division will abide by that division’s policies for only those policies in place at that time and only while directly working for that division. Any situation not covered by a division specific policy and/or any time the deputy is not directly working for that division, the general Sheriff’s Office policies will take precedence.