Citizen Complaint Form

Dear Citizen,

The Fairview Heights Police Department strives to provide all persons with professional, courteous, respectful, and unbiased policing. As such, we accept and investigate complaints regarding the performance of our employees.

In order to help you understand how the process of completing a citizen complaint proceeds, we offer you the following information:

Q. How do I file a complaint against a police officer?
A. We will investigate a complaint, regardless of how it was received. You may complain in person, by phone, by mail, by e-mail, or on the Police Department’s website.

Q. Do I have to be the person who the police officer acted against to file a complaint?
A. No. Anyone may file a complaint against a police officer, including witnesses, other family members, friends, or a representative for the person.

Q. Do you treat complaints differently depending on their seriousness?
A. A complaint will be considered in one of three different manners. The manner it is treated is largely dependent on the severity of discipline the employee may face if the violation is established as having occurred.

Q. If I just come in and talk to a supervisor about what happened to me, is that considered an official complaint?
A. Not necessarily. Depending on the seriousness of the allegation, the supervisor may be able to satisfy your concerns by answering questions and clarifying the reasons for actions or behaviors of an officer. Very often, the citizen is satisfied after this meeting. If not, at the decision of the citizen, the allegation may proceed to a complaint to be investigated.

Q. If I file a written complaint, why do you require me to complete a sworn affidavit?
A. This requirement is because of state law. The Illinois Uniform Peace Officers’ Disciplinary Act (50 ILCS 725/) requires formal complaints to be supported by sworn affidavit.

Q. Why is there a warning on the sworn affidavit form you want signed?
A. According to state law, “Any complaint … having been found, in total or in part, to contain knowingly false material information, shall be presented to the appropriate State’s Attorney for a determination of prosecution (50 ILCS 725/3.8).”

Q. What if I refuse to sign a sworn affidavit against the officer?
A. The failure to make a sworn affidavit may limit the ability of the Police Department to take appropriate corrective action if an officer has acted inappropriately.

Q. What happens when a complaint is filed?
A. Once a complaint is filed, the Chief of Police will direct an appropriate inquiry to be made to determine if the actions of the officer were inappropriate.

A supervisor or commander will be assigned to conduct the inquiry or investigation. This investigator will collect information and evidence as part of his fact-finding portion of the investigation. This may include further interviews with the complaining citizen, interviews of witness, interviews of officers, and review of recordings.

Upon completion of the gathering of facts, a report will be made to the Chief of Police who will make determination if policies were violated. If policies were violated, the Chief shall determine what, if any, discipline is appropriate.

Q. What happens when the internal investigation or inquiry is completed?
A. Once the internal investigation or inquiry is completed, the facts gathered will be submitted to the Chief of Police for review. The Chief will then determine if a sustained violation of policy has occurred. If the Chief determines that a violation of policy occurred, the Chief will administer appropriate discipline against an officer.

The complainant will receive notification from the Chief upon completion and the findings of the inquiry/ investigation. Allegations will be considered as sustained, not sustained, exonerated, or unfounded.

Q. What is the difference between “sustained,” “not sustained,” “exonerated,” and “unfounded?”
A. Sustained means the investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to establish that the act occurred and that it constituted misconduct.

Not sustained means the investigation disclosed that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the officer.

Exonerated means the investigation disclosed that the alleged act occurred but that the act was justified, lawful and/or proper.

Unfounded means the investigation disclosed that the alleged acts did not occur or did not involve department members.

Q. What if I am not satisfied with the decisions of the Chief of Police?
A. You may take any or all of the following actions:
1. You are encouraged to meet with the Police Chief in person to discuss the matter further and to have your questions answered more fully.
2. You may meet with the Mayor to discuss your concerns and further express your complaints about the police officer or department. The Mayor’s office can be contacted at 618-489-2000.
3. If you believe that the actions of the police officer were criminal conduct, you may be able to make report to the Illinois State Police, 618-346-3990.
4. If you believe the actions by the police officer were in violation of your civil rights, you may be able to make a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation 217-522-9675.
5. You may also consider contacting organizations that work to ensure persons or treated justly and fairly by government employees. Two examples of these organizations are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

 

Download the Citizen Complaint Form below.