Citizen Complaints

Citizens Complaint Procedures 

It is the policy of the Millville Police Department that all allegations of employee misconduct are appropriately investigated and promptly adjudicated.  Additionally, all reports or accusations made against members of the Department or the Department in general, from all sources, shall be completely investigated in order to ensure the integrity of the Department and its members.

A Millville Police Department complaint form shall be used to record all complaints of misconduct, mistreatment, or improper practices against members of the Department, whether registered by a citizen or forwarded from another governmental agency.  This complaint form must be made out at the police station.  No exceptions to this may occur without prior approval of the Chief of Police.

Every person registering a written complaint shall receive a copy of the complaint to serve as a receipt verifying that such complaint has been received by the Department and will be processed.

The Chief of Police, Sergeant or Senior Officer on Duty at the time a complaint is made will be responsible for the efficient receiving and complete recording of any complaint of police employee misconduct made in person or by telephone.  In their absence, the senior most officer shall be responsible for this function.  In the event the person responsible for receiving the complaint and the employee being complained about are one in the same, the complainant shall be asked to come back at a more appropriate time.  All Operations personnel shall notify their Shift Supervisor immediately upon the first indication of a citizen desiring to file a complaint and are not to attempt to resolve the complaint themselves.  All members working inside or outside of the station shall refer persons wishing to make a complaint to the proper authority.

The utmost courtesy and cooperation shall be extended to all persons registering complaints or otherwise inquiring about the complaint procedure.  Information regarding the complaint filing process should be disseminated immediately upon request.  No person shall be denied the opportunity to register a complaint, nor should any person be directed to return or call back later, unless absolutely necessary.

Anyone making a complaint in person shall be requested to read over the completed report, to make any necessary corrections and to sign the complaint.  If the complainant refuses to sign the complaint, a notation to that effect shall be made on the complaint form and the complaint shall be handled in the same manner as a signed complaint. 

Persons making a complaint by telephone should be informed that a signed complaint is requested. However, no complaint will be refused because of the complainant not wanting to sign a complaint or identify themselves.  Anonymous complaints will be considered on their individual merits. 

All complaints must be reduced to writing, if not by the complainant, then by the officer taking the complaint.  The completed form should contain as much information as possible, with detailed description of alleged act(s) of misconduct, including date, time and place; names and descriptions of Department employees involved in the incident; the names and addresses of witnesses, if known; and any other relevant information.

All complaints against the Department, or its members, will be investigated thoroughly.  On occasion, malicious and deliberately false accusations are made against the Department and/or its members.  These accusations will be investigated to protect the integrity of the Department and its members, thereby instilling public confidence in the Department.  In some cases, the extent of the investigation may be limited to substantiating the falsity of the accusations. 

Complaints of a minor nature should be resolved quickly and effectively by the superior officer receiving them if possible.  More complex or serious complaints will be referred to the Chief of Police for processing.  Any superior officer receiving a complaint, which calls for an expeditious investigation in order to determine the facts and circumstances, should proceed forthwith.  Factors influencing this decision may include the necessity to gather physical evidence while fresh and available and interviews with witnesses or other principals while memories are fresh, to preclude rehearsed or influenced versions.

If a complaint, minor in nature, is resolved immediately while the complainant is present, this fact shall be noted on the form.  The corrective action taken should be noted and the complainant's signature indicating satisfaction should be requested.

When possible, the Chief of Police or a designee should be notified immediately upon receipt of a complaint of a serious nature that warrants an expeditious investigation.  The subsequent investigation will be conducted according to the instructions of the Chief of Police.  If the Chief of Police appoints an Internal Affairs Officer they shall be responsible for notifying the Chief of Police, upon the initiation of such investigation.