The Importance of your Complaint
The Precinct Four Constable’s Office recognizes that its employees are responsible for their conduct where the public is concerned. The department also acknowledges that, at certain times, conflicts between citizens and agency employees can arise. It is essential to the safety of our community that the relationship between police and citizens be built on confidence and trust. Law enforcement can not be effective without this vital conviction by both entities.
Deputies must be free to exercise their best judgement and initiate proper action in a reasonable, lawful, impartial manner, without fear of reprisal. At the same time, they must observe the rights of all people. The complaint process and appropriate disciplinary procedures not only subject agency members to corrective action when they conduct themselves improperly, the guidelines also protect them from unwarranted criticism when they discharge their duties properly.
A disagreement over the validity of a traffic citation is not a complaint. Such disagreements should be directed to the court that has jurisdiction in the matter.
The Precinct Four Constable’s Office realizes that confusion, different perceptions, or the timeliness of information sometimes will result in descriptions that produce different versions of the same incident. Beyond legitimate error, however, the deliberate making of a report that the complainant knows to be false or misleading could constitute a violation of State Law.
The complaint process is designed to deal with each case factually and fairly. Citizens who file complaints are treated respectfully, and their accusations are taken seriously. All complaints are investigated thoroughly, and all findings are based on impartial evidence gained during the investigation.
However, many complaints can be explained satisfactorily by a visit or telephone call to the employee's supervisor. In most cases this will be the Operations Sergeant. The supervisor will talk with you about your complaint and try to resolve it.
The Constable is usually available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to discuss your complaint about any member of the department.
There are two classes of complaints.
A Class I complaint, is the most serious. Class I complaints allege a violation of law or such other serious allegations as excessive force (being hit, slapped, kicked or struck by any object) causing pain or visible signs of bodily injury. The second, a Class II complaint, includes allegations of a less serious nature and may concern violations of department policy.
Class I and Class II complaints are considered formal complaints. Complaints are handled with very strict regard to protecting the integrity of the information and parties involved. We require all complaints to be in writing, signed by the complainant and be notarized.
All complaints will be dealt with in the same manner, and will be responded to in writing once the investigation is completed.
Any complaint can be made anonymously without giving your name. However, a complaint cannot be considered formal without the information required to notify the complainant of the findings, or actions taken. You cannot be informed of the internal review's results if you choose to remain anonymous. After a formal complaint has been thoroughly investigated, the complaint will be classified into one of the following dispositions:
- Unfounded: Incident did not occur, or affected employee was not involved.
- Exonerated: Incident occurred, but actions taken were lawful and proper.
- Not Sustained: Insufficient evidence exists to prove the allegation.
- Sustained: Evidence is sufficient to prove the allegation.
Sustained allegations could result in additional training, counseling, written reprimand, suspension or termination.
Although employees named in a complaint will at some point be required to respond to the specific allegation, they are not permitted access to cases under investigation. Complainants need not be concerned that they will be subject to retaliation for legitimately stating a complaint because State law prevents this.
Complainants who have current criminal or traffic charges pending should be aware that the internal review process deals solely with department police matters and the conduct of agency employees. Regardless of the outcome of an internal investigation, existing criminal or traffic charges must be dealt with through the proper courts.
Final Determination about the disposition of any complaint will be made by the constable.