The police force and those in the armed services are not only respected individuals, but they’re also feared because of their authority to carry out the law. This goes to both lawbreakers and law-abiding citizens. While these people are respected, some officers use their authority to look down on other people or even cause them harm. They’re supposed to keep the people safe from harm, but they’re actually the one who harms the people. So, what do you do if you’re threatened or attacked by a police officer? The answer is simple. You file a complaint by filling out a civilian complaint form.
What Is a Civilian Complaint Form?
A civilian complaint form is a form used when filing a complaint against a police officer or a person in the armed forces. It’s called such for the obvious reason that only civilians can complete the form and file a complaint. Civilians are people or individuals who do not belong to the armed forces, the police force, or the fire department. While the mentioned professions are made of respectable people, some of them tend to abuse their power or authority, which then leads to abuse or any form and harm ordinary citizens. All because they think they are the law or above it.
Complaints filed against a police officer doesn’t condemn them guilty of the act. A civilian complaint is handled just like a proper case, where a thorough investigation is conducted. The findings related to the complaint are submitted to a reviewing board. Not all civilians are victims in a civilian complaint, so when their lie or make-up stories are proven, the complaining civilian may be sent to jail.
The Civilian Review Boards
You can’t expect a police officer to review the complaint filed against him/her. That would seem one-sided and unfair, especially to the part of the civilian who made the complaint. The final decision would be considered biased and unreliable, and may even be always in favor of the accused police officer. To avoid this, a civilian review board is formed. The board is in charge of investigating civilian complaints concerning police officer misconduct. It is composed mainly of citizen representatives. Although it is part of the law enforcement agency, their power is restricted to reviewing internal police investigations that are already completed and providing their comments to the chief of police.
After the complaint is filed, it is investigated, and the board then reviews the findings of the investigation. The board (either full board or a three-member sub-unit) votes on the recommendations presented by the investigator. Different powers are given to the civilian review board in different localities. Some are granted subpoena power, and others are allowed sole investigatory power. The civilian review board can even make recommendations to the chief of police as to the outcome of the investigation, but it’s very rare for them to have the final say.
How to File a Civilian Complaint
If you know that you’re right, then you shouldn’t be afraid to file a civilian complaint. There may be slight variations in the filing process in different localities, so you may have to check out other steps that you need to take. Generally, a civilian complaint can be filed in the following manner:
Step 1: Decide on a method of filing
Each state has its preferred method of filling, and you should check on this before deciding how to file your complaint. Civilian complaints can be filed to the civilian review board over the phone, by filling out a civilian complaint form template online, via email, or in-person by completing civilian complaint template in Word in the police station.
Step 2: Option for anonymous filling
If you do not want to give out your name or identity, you can opt for anonymous filling, but you’ll need to provide details o how the investigator can contact you for the investigation.
Step 3: Identify the officer who was involved
Provide the names of the officer/s who are involved in the complaint you are filling. If you do not know who they are, any information that can point out who they are or in what station they’re assigned will help.
Step 4: Provide the details
Be very detailed with the information you provide as much as possible. The gathered data will be used in the investigation, and every detail counts. You can learn how to provide detailed information by checking out civilian complaint form examples, sample legal forms, and other relevant sample forms.
Step 5: Submit the complaint according to the method of filling
Complaints filed over the phone are recorded by the Civilian Review Board. Send your letter of complaint through email to the appropriate email address. If you filed a complaint online, then you’ll just have to submit it after completing the form. Give your completed complaint form to the clerk in the police office after competing it. You may be interviewed for initial gathering of inforation.
10+ Civilian Complaint Form Samples in PDF | DOC
1. Civilian Complaint Form Sample
2. Police Civilian Complaint Form Template
3. Civilian Complaint Form in PDF
4. Civilian Complaint Form Template
5. Civilian Complaint Form Example
6. Basic Civilian Complaint Form Sample
7. Formal Civilian Complaint Form Template
8. General Civilian Complaint Form Sample
9. Simple Civilian Complaint Form Template
10. Printable Civilian Complaint Form Example
11. Civilian Complaint Form in DOC
A lot of people find it intimidating to file a complaint against a police officer for fear that they might be fighting for something in vain. Although there are a whole lot of things to fear when filing such complaint, giving up without even trying is not soemthing you can be proud of. In the end, it is best to make the decision you will never regret.
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