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Formal Complaint

What is a "Formal Complaint" in comparison to a general complaint?

Formal Complaints are different than general complaints, as they usually involve a more serious nature of allegations of misconduct or criminal violation by police personnel. General complaints can range from allegations of police personnel running a stop sign or not using a turn signal. These types of complaints/ concerns can be provided over the phone or in person. All complaints are very important and will be investigated, but each needs to be addressed by administration accordingly.

How do I file a formal complaint?

Formal Complaints are to be made in person at the Police Department. To download our Commendation/Complaint Form Click Here. Any Supervisor can take a formal complaint. All you have to do is relay the facts of the incident to the officer without adding to it or embellishing what happened. You will be treated professionally and courteously. If you file a complaint, you will receive a copy of your complaint as a receipt of record. After the complaint is investigated, you will be advised of the disposition by letter or by phone. The Greenwood Police Department values the input of the citizens we serve.

What happens after I make a complaint?

All complaints received about member misconduct will be thoroughly examined by the Internal Affairs Unit. Complaints of discourtesy or poor service are usually investigated by the officer's immediate supervisor and forwarded to the Chief of Police for review. Complaints that are investigated by the Internal Affairs Unit are completed and forwarded to the Chief of Police for review and final recommendation. The complaint is then given one of five dispositions:

  1. No Misconduct Established - There is insufficient evidence to confirm or refute the complaint.
  2. Sustained - The allegation is true and the actions of our employee was inconsistent with the Department's policies and procedures.
  3. Exonerated - The allegation is true and the action of our employee was consistent with the Department's policies and procedures.
  4. Unfounded - The allegation is either false or there is no credible evidence to support it.
  5. Withdrawn - The allegation is withdrawn by the complainant.

All decisions involving disciplinary action will be made by the Chief of Police. Complaints involving a possible criminal violation and those involving deadly use of Force are forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review.

Is there any risk to me when I make a complaint?

Absolutely not. You will not be subjected to intimidation or any other improper behavior. However, if you intentionally make a false complaint against an officer or employee, you may be prosecuted criminally and/or held civilly liable.

Do police officers have rights when an allegation is made against them?

Yes, they do. Police officers are protected by the Police Officer's Bill of Rights, which provides that they shall not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, or threats. They have a right to have counsel or a witness during the investigation.

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