Citizen Complaint Process
The following information is provided to you by the Southport Police Department to inform you of the citizen complaint process.
Citizens who wish to express dissatisfaction with members or policies of this department should adhere to the following guidelines to ensure that a complete and proper investigation is conducted.
As a citizen, if you believe you have been mistreated or have not received adequate service, you have a moral and legal right to express dissatisfaction with your police department. This will not only make you a responsible citizen, but your input will help to improve the department.
No member of the Southport Police Department will attempt to interfere or influence your right to complain about the service this department provides to you. Your complaint will be thoroughly and impartially investigated.
Because of the responsibilities imposed on all parties involved in the Citizen Complaint Process, the Southport Police Department must inform you that Indiana Criminal Code 35-44-2-2(5), False Reporting, states in part:
“Whoever makes a complaint against a law enforcement officer to the state or municipality that employs the officer, alleging the officer engaged in misconduct while performing the officer’s duties; and knowing the complaint to be false; commits false informing, a Class B misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if it substantially hinders any law enforcement process or if it results in harm to an innocent person.”
If you believe a member of this Department has acted improperly or has violated a Department Code of Conduct, a federal or state law, or an ordinance of the City of Southport, you may file a written complaint. However, false complaints will be reviewed by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILING YOUR COMPLAINT
•What is a complaint – A complaint is a belief that a member of the Southport Police Department has violated a Department Code of Conduct, a federal or state law, an ordinance of the City of Southport, or dissatisfaction with a policy or procedure of the Southport Police Department.
•Who can file a complaint – In most cases, a complaint can be filed by any citizen or agent representing an aggrieved or injured party. However, the agent shall be limited to the following.
•An attorney representing the aggrieved citizen
•The parent or guardian of a minor child
•A translator representing a non-English speaking complainant
Agents can obtain a Citizen Complaint Form for the aggrieved or injured party and assist with its completion. A citizen complaint can be filed at the Southport Police Department. All complaint reports are confidential.
Filing your complaint – You may file your complaint by going to the police department.
When you file your complaint, please provide the following information to the supervisory officer (or investigator) writing your complaint or on the complaint form you are filing yourself:
•Your personal information (full name, date of birth, address, phone number)
•The date and time of the incident
•The nature of the incident
•All parties involved, witnesses, records, photographs and other evidence
•What must be filed – In most cases, when a complaint is filed, a narrative of the complaint must be written on the Citizen Complaint Form. The citizen or agent will sign the Citizen Complaint Form and a copy will be provided. However, if more convenient for the citizen, the Citizen Complaint Form can be completed at a later time, and returned to the Southport Police Department.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH YOUR COMPLAINT
The investigation – The Department will conduct a thorough investigation to include interviews of all available witnesses.
Who will investigate – Supervisors and/or detectives, under the direction of the Internal Affairs Division, will conduct all complaint investigations. Their duty is to gather all the facts and present these facts for review.
Length of investigation – Most investigations will be completed within a timely manner. Complex investigations may take several months to complete.
THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF COMPLAINT
The completed investigation – Once the initial complaint has been thoroughly investigated and all of the facts have been gathered, the completed investigation will be reviewed. This review will determine if there was compliance with the department Code of Conduct, federal or state laws, ordinances of the city of Southport, or the policies and procedures of the Southport Police Department.
Decision of the Chief of Police – If the Chief of Police determines there is a violation of department Code of Conduct, federal or state laws, ordinances of the city of Southport, or policies and procedures of the Southport Police Department, criminal charges will be sought, disciplinary action, and/or a change of policy may result.
Notification – When the final disposition has been made, a notification letter will be sent informing the complaining party of the outcome of the investigation.