Complaint Procedure

Who May Register a Complaint
Any citizen may make an employee complaint. Citizens may be requested to appear in person; however, even anonymous complaints will receive an appropriate investigation.

Complaints filed against the department or one of its employees shall be handled courteously and professionally. Persons desiring to file a complaint against an employee of the department may either call 9-1-1 or contact any member of the department. You will be directed to the supervisor of the organizational unit to which that employee is assigned. If the supervisor is not available, or if you do not wish to divulge the name of the member, you will be referred to the on-duty patrol shift commander.

Some complaints can be satisfactorily resolved either by a telephone call or during a visit with the supervisor or shift commander. The supervisor or shift commander receiving the complaint will make an assessment of its seriousness, and determine:
  • Whether the complaint can be satisfactorily handled at that level
  • Whether a written complaint should be filed
Complaint Procedure
Types of Complaints
Generally, complaints fall into 3 categories:
  • Informal
  • Formal
  • Internal Affairs

File a Complaint
Download the complaint form.

Handling of Complaints
A complaint is considered informal when it is received and satisfactorily resolved by the supervisor. A formal complaint is more involved and detailed. The complainant will normally receive a written disposition. Finally, a complaint referred to the internal affairs function ensures the integrity of the agency. The criteria for determining the categories of complaints referred to internal affairs includes allegations of misconduct such as:
  • Corruption
  • Excessive use of force that have been reviewed by administrators and found to have possible merit
  • Breach of civil rights
  • Criminal misconduct
  • Any other inappropriate conduct as determined by the Chief of Police
Internal Affairs
Internal affairs complaints are thoroughly investigated and the officers involved in the internal affairs function maintain a close liaison with the prosecutor's office in investigations involving criminal allegations. A written report is usually prepared. It may include recorded statements from the complainant, witnesses, and the accused.

The completed investigative report includes a narrative summary of the events and a finding of fact. The report will not reflect any personal opinion, but rather an unbiased description of the circumstances as they actually occurred.

This allows the department to make a proper resolution, based upon the investigative findings presented. The impact of an internal affairs case on the integrity of the department and the morale of its members necessitates a speedy yet thorough resolution to these issues.

There normally will be a 30 day time limit for completing an internal affairs investigation, with status reports to the Chief of Police every 7 days. The Chief of Police may grant extensions in those cases where extenuating circumstances exist.

Dispositions
The descriptions of complaints are classified as follows:

Unfounded
Investigation indicates that the act(s) complained of did not occur.

Exonerated
Investigation indicates that the act(s) complained of did occur. However, the actions of the accused were lawful and proper.

Not Sustained
Investigation failed to disclose sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation(s).

Sustained
Investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegation(s) made in the complaint.

In addition to the above types of dispositions, an investigation may determine a policy “void” in which case new policy is implemented where warranted.

The types of disciplinary action, in ascending order, which can be recommended for a sustained complaint, are:
  • Employee counseling
  • Written reprimand
  • Recommendation regarding loss of leave
  • Recommendation to suspend
  • Recommendation to demote
  • Recommendation to terminate
Non-probationary employees are entitled to appeal a suspension, demotion, or termination from the department. Anonymous complaints can be made by calling the employee’s supervisor, or if not known or unavailable, the on-duty shift commander at 513-868-5811, ext. 2004.