UNC Police: General Order 03-20R4 - Personnel Early Warning System


UNC Police: General Order 03-20R4 - Personnel Early Warning System

Document Information

Document Information Table
Subject Personnel Early Warning System
Date September 28, 2020
Number 03-20R4
Amends April 7, 2017
Supersedes 03-20R3
Approved by Brian L. James, Chief of Police
CALEA Standards 22.2.1 Physical Examination, 26.1.4 Disciplinary System, 26.1.5 Role and Authority of Supervisors, 26.2.1 Complaint Investigation, 26.3.1 Complaint Type, 33.1.5 Remedial Training, 35.1.2 Annual Evaluation, 35.1.4 Evaluation Criteria, 35.1.6 Unsatisfactory Performance & 35.1.9 Personnel Early Intervention System
CALEA Communications Standard 3.4.1 Performance Evaluation System, 3.4.4 Unsatisfactory Performance, 3.6.1 Code of Conduct, 3.6.6 Supervisor Role and Authority in Discipline & 5.2.8 Remedial Training


The purpose of this General Order (G.O.) is to establish a formal system to effectively organize critical performance and evaluation data in a format conducive to prompt identification and response to early indicators of employee performance and/or conduct-related problems.


It is the policy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) Police Department to use a Personnel Early Warning System (EWS) to (1) provide for the timely and systematic review of significant events involving UNC-CH Police Department personnel and (2) to enable the agency to exercise its responsibility to evaluate, identify, and assist employees who exhibit signs of performance and/or conduct related problems.

Units Affected

UNC-CH Police Department Sworn and Non-Sworn Personnel


  • UNC-CH Police Department Sworn and Non-Sworn Personnel, who have attained career status by the State Human Resources Act (N.C.G.S. §126-1.1).
  • NC Office of State Human Resources Employee Grievance Policy
  • North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) §126 State Human Resources Act
  • UNC-CH Office of Human Resources (OHR) State Human Resources Act (SHRA) Employee Grievance Initial Filing Form
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Grievance Policy, Guidelines for Grievance
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Grievance Supplemental Filing Form
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Grievance Assistant
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Grievant
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Immediate Supervisor
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Panel Chairs
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Panelists
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Statement of Work Time and Grievance Participation
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Step 1 Respondents
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Step 2 Respondents
  • UNC-CH OHR SHRA Roles, Rights and Responsibilities of Participants, Witnesses
  • UNC-CH Police Department General Order 01-01 Use of Force
  • UNC-CH Police Department General Order 03-09 Disciplinary Procedures
  • UNC-CH Police Department General Order 03-10 Internal Affairs
  • UNC-CH Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking
  • UNC-CH University Libraries University Archives and Records Management Services; General Records and Retention and Disposition Schedule
  • UNC-CH Workplace Violence

Definitions and Descriptions

  • Coordinator: A command officer or administrative staff designated by the Chief of Police as having responsibility for administration of the EWS.
  • EWS: The Personnel Early Warning System.


I. Early Warning System

  1. A comprehensive Early Warning System (EWS) is an essential component of good discipline in a well-managed law enforcement agency. The early identification of potential problem employees and a menu of remedial actions can increase agency accountability and offer employees a better opportunity to meet the agency’s values and mission statement.
  2. The EWS is a time-sensitive process designed to effectively organize critical performance and evaluation data in a format conducive to promptly identify early indicators of certain performance and/or conduct related problems and to facilitate any necessary or appropriate intervention activities.
  3. The EWS is only one of the methods by which employees are identified as possibly needing assistance with performance and/or conduct related problems. The EWS is intended to serve as a systematic approach to highlighting tendencies that may otherwise be overlooked.

II. Administration

  1. The administrative services commander serves as Coordinator of the EWS. The EWS Coordinator is responsible for developing and maintaining a system for collecting, tracking, and reporting on the target data for each UNC-CH Police Department employee as provided in this G.O.
  2. The EWS Coordinator must periodically compare each category of collected target data to the corresponding historical norms of the agency. Norms are updated on an on-going basis for each category of target data. The EWS Coordinator must submit written recommendations to the Chief of Police regarding any indicated need for adjustment in established thresholds requiring EWS notice and review.
  3. Supervisors must monitor the employees in their span of control for signs of behavioral alert indicators. If an employee exhibits one (1) or more of these indicators, the supervisor should have a conference to determine if the employee may benefit from intervention of the EWS or if some type disciplinary action is warranted. Some of the behavioral alert indicators that an employee may exhibit are:
    1. Excessive absenteeism;
    2. A significant reduction in work performance;
    3. Sudden unusual behavior;
    4. Indications of substance abuse; or
    5. Supervisory problems where previous attempts through performance review and discipline have had little, if any, effect on resolving the undesired behavior.
  4. The following criteria are considered risk indicators and will be reviewed on an on-going basis in order to identify employees with potentially problematic behaviors who need intervention efforts:
    1. Use of Force Reports;
    2. Departmental motor vehicle accidents;
    3. Disciplinary actions;
    4. Negative performance evaluations;
    5. Internal affairs investigations;
    6. Citizen complaints; or
    7. Civil suits.
  5. The following initial thresholds have been established by the UNC-CH Police Department as requiring EWS notice to the relevant supervisors of an employee who, during the most recent 12-month period, has been the subject of or involved as a principal participant in:
    1. Two (2) or more substantiated citizen complaints or internal affairs investigations;
    2. Two (2) or more disciplinary actions;
    3. Two (2) or more substantiated use of force complaints;
    4. Two (2) or more vehicle collisions in which the employee is at fault; or
    5. Three (3) or more total targeted incidents.

III. Roles of Supervisors and Commanders

  1. The EWS is simply a tool to assist supervisory personnel in monitoring employee performance. The availability of EWS does not alter the critical role of line supervisors to directly monitor the performance and behavior of personnel under their command on a daily basis.
  2. Along with daily monitoring of employee work activities, supervisors must take proactive measures to address identified deficiencies in employee performance or behavior at the earliest practical time.
  3. Supervisors assigned to oversee routine reporting and review functions related to employee performance, discipline, pursuits, use of force, citizen complaints, and vehicle operation must remain alert to patterns or indicators that suggest the need for follow up review and/or intervention. The goal is to identify escalating patterns of less serious misconduct that can be abated through early intervention.
  4. Supervisors and division commanders must promptly provide all necessary documentation to the administrative services commander for the purpose of compiling and tracking EWS data.

IV. EWS Notices and Preliminary Review

  1. The EWS Coordinator will provide a written EWS notice to alert the employee’s immediate supervisor and division commander whenever an employee meets the threshold criteria established in Section II of this G.O. EWS notices are intended to assist supervisors in evaluating and guiding their subordinates and will not, standing alone, form the basis for disciplinary action.
  2. EWS notices contain the employees’ name, employee PID number, targeted event dates, a brief summary of each targeted incident, and the associated dispositions where available. EWS notices must not draw any conclusions or make any determinations concerning job performance.
  3. EWS notices require that the employee’s immediate supervisor and Division Commander meet to conduct a preliminary review of the EWS data, as well as other recent employee performance related information.
  4. Based on this preliminary review, the division commander must submit a timely report to the Chief of Police and EWS Coordinator, articulating whether a formal review is recommended. If so, a formal EWS review is initiated.

V. Formal EWS Review and Intervention

  1. Division commanders are responsible for conducting formal EWS reviews. Such reviews includes a meeting(s) with the affected employee and relevant supervisory staff. Employees are informed they have been identified for formal EWS review and informed of the purpose of the meeting(s).
  2. EWS review meetings result in options or courses of action being determined and established by the applicable division commander with input from the identified employee and their supervisory chain of command. Options or courses of actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. No additional action required;
    2. Informal counseling and informal monitoring by immediate supervisor;
    3. Formal counseling or non-disciplinary corrective action as appropriate;
    4. Formal monitoring for a minimum of 12 weeks with monthly reviews and reports;
    5. Mandatory remedial or additional training designed to improve the employee’s skills;
    6. Referral to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for counseling or referral assistance;
    7. Reassignment; or
    8. Disciplinary action as appropriate.

VI. Annual Evaluation

  1. The EWS Coordinator must conduct an annual evaluation of the EWS for submission to the UNC-CH Chief of Police. The evaluation will include, but is not limited to, the following:
    1. Statistical data about EWS activity during the past year;
    2. Assessment of the overall effectiveness of the EWS; and
    3. Any recommendations for changes in EWS policy or procedures.
  2. The EWS annual evaluation is made available to supervisory personnel for review and comment.


Article ID: 132113
Thu 4/8/21 9:24 PM
Fri 10/6/23 4:32 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
09/29/2020 8:26 PM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Chief of Police
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
08/04/2023 8:26 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
09/29/2020 8:26 PM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
11/01/2024 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
04/07/2017 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
UNC Police