Norris said he feels confident that he will not run into the same problem. He has reinstituted the Inspection Services Division, in which a top commander reviews how discipline is meted out to ensure fairness.
Norris and the consultant team found a daunting task for internal investigators, who field more than 100 complaints a month. Every allegation has to be investigated, with witnesses sought out and interviewed -- even a resident who complained about the way an officer used the word "sir."
In the first six months of last year, the department investigated 1,226 neglect-of-duty cases, which includes failure to appear in court; 221 general misconduct violations; 105 cases in which an officer allegedly committed a crime; 155 excessive-force charges; and 33 complaints of discourtesy.
About 10 percent of cases investigated are sustained, department officials said. Officers found in violation can either accept recommended punishment -- which can include letters of reprimand, lost vacation days or termination -- or challenge the case at a public trial board, a hearing similar to a trial.
The list of scheduled trial boards from January through May involves 142 officers.
Most are seeking a hearing on minor rules infractions, which Norris said further clogs up a system that should be free to deal with serious corruption cases.
Some of the minor complaints Norris is eliminating had been under investigation since 1997, preventing the officers from being promoted.
"I will always support an officer whose actions fall within the acceptable parameters of our profession," Norris wrote, "but I will never allow any misconduct that tarnishes our badge."