Any member of the community can file a complaint against any uniformed personnel that they believe may have acted improperly. Complaints can be filed anonymously and can be made by anyone, including witnesses or those who heard about an incident from someone else. Complaint topics can include disrespectful treatment, improper use of force, or any other allegation against specific uniformed personnel, regardless of whether the complainant knows their name(s) or badge number(s). Complaints can be provided to the Citizen Oversight Board (COB), the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM), or directly with departments’ internal investigative offices. The easiest way to file a complaint or commendation related to the DPD or DSD is through the OIM’s online form. The DFD has an online form available as well.
Historically, both DPD and DSD had their own internal affairs offices that were responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct concerning uniformed personnel and recommending appropriate discipline. This is still the case for the DPD, which has both an Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) responsible for initial screening of complaints, gathering evidence, and conducting interviews and a Conduct Review Bureau (CRB, often also referred to as the Conduct Review Office or CRO) responsible for evaluating the evidence and making initial disciplinary recommendations. However, the DSD’s internal affairs division was replaced in 2019 by a new Public Integrity Division (PID) within the DOS. The PID consists of an Administrative Investigations Unit (AIU) and a Conduct Review Unit (CRU), which have responsibilities similar to their DPD counterparts. While complaints can come in through many channels, complaints about the DSD go first to AIU, then CRU, and then to the Sheriff. Complaints about the DPD go first to IAB, then CRB, and then to the Chief of Police. While notices of improvement and reprimands can be issued by the Chief, Sheriff, or EDOS, the EDOS is responsible for the final decision on any discipline for uniformed personnel more severe than a reprimand. This process is the same regardless of whether a complaint is initially submitted to the Board, the OIM, the DSD’s Grievance and Incident Review Team (GIRT), or directly to AIU or IAB.
After the EDOS makes the department’s final discipline decision, police officers and fire investigators are able to appeal that decision to the Civil Service Commission. Sheriff deputies and most civilian employees can similarly appeal to the Career Service Board. They can all further appeal their decisions to the formal court system as well, if they believe their discipline violated state or federal laws.