If you have something to complain about to your local police department -- whether it is regarding a particular staff member, an officer or a matter of policy -- then you have a right as a citizen, to have your voice heard. You can do this by simply calling or e-mailing the police department. However, to ensure there is a record of your complaint, and that it is received, you should send out a formal complaint letter.
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Get the address where you should mail the complaint letter. This is generally listed on the police department's website or you can call to find out this information.
Type your name and contact information at the top of the letter. Should the police department wish to contact you with further questions, they can find your address, e-mail and phone number here, at the top of the page.
Add the name and address of the police station to the letter you're writing.
Put the date that you're sending out the complaint letter below the police department's address.
Explain the nature of your complaint in the first paragraph. Talk briefly about the issue you have with the department, staff member or officer.
Detail your complaint in subsequent paragraphs. For example, if there was an issue involving an officer at your home, state the date and time of day, why the officer was called and what event proceeded his arrival on the scene. Give these details without comment. Just present the facts, as they occurred.
Type and sign your name at the end of the complaint letter. Keep a copy of the letter for your own records.
Tips and warnings
- In many cities, a supervisor will usually assist you in filling out a complaint form. This form asks you to identify yourself and then give specific details about your complaint. Your issue will then be investigated. You may be contacted and asked additional questions.
- Sometimes, if it is going to take a long period of time to investigate your complaint, you will receive a letter telling you approximately when you may expect a reply. When your complaint has been investigated, the Chief of Police will review the investigation and send you a response advising you of the disposition regarding the complaint.
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