Make a complaint for unethical behavior.
If a police officer acts in an unethical manner, or if they break constitutional laws by violating citizen’s rights, a complaint should be filed against them. If a citizen believes that a complaint against an officer is justified, they can file a complaint with the department, or the United States Department of Justice.
A person can file a complaint against anyone if they believe they have grounds to do so, and are requesting some sort of relief to settle the complaint. A police officer is a public servant, and as such is supposed to be doing their job to serve the community by protecting them from criminal acts or warning them of unsafe situations. Career advancement for officers is based on arrests and convictions within a department. This quota mentality gives officers a reason to arrest erroneously and violate the constitutional rights of citizens. Many times a citizen will not report or complain about an officer’s misconduct setting other citizens up for up for further unethical arrest actions. Police misconduct has grown out of control in the United States with daily news headlines regarding the illegal, or unethical actions of police within their communities.
Video proof damaging community trust.
Beatings, shootings, bullying and bribery activities are caught on video with the quickly available cellular phone, leaving citizens to wonder who they should be protecting themselves from. While police officers are requesting public cell phone video recordings to be discontinued because they are concerned this media makes them look bad to their communities, departments and officers should be more concerned about behaving ethically, then it does not matter who is watching their professional actions.
Complaint becomes part of professional record.
If a citizen has been victimized by a law enforcement officer, filing a formal complaint is the first line of action against unconstitutional or unethical conduct as it becomes part of the permanent personnel file of the officer in question. This may be valuable down the line if the officer continues to act without regard for the laws that he is sworn to uphold. If an action were to be initiated down the line, the personnel files would support the unethical actions and the case would be stronger against the officer. If a criminal defendant (victim) accuses an officer of misconduct, a trial court motion could request personnel records of the police officer to be unsealed and made part of the trial. If that information displays a pattern of the abuse that is included in the current complaint, it can convince the court that an officer’s actions in the past support truth in the current complaint. Additionally, persons who made the complaints on record will be called as witnesses to trial potentially strengthening a victim’s case against an officer.
Access and common types of complaints.
Police officers cannot access or review formal complaints that have been made against them, but if they hire attorneys to represent them, they can find out what negative information may be part of their personnel record. Common complaints against officers include: 1) conducting unlawful search & seizure; 2) planting evidence; 3) using excessive force; 4) making false statements; 5) making threats; 6) harassing victims; or 7) perjuring themselves.