Complaint and Commendation Procedures

It is the policy of the Columbus Police Department to foster confidence from the citizens of Columbus and maintain high professional standards. Our Department investigates all complaints against both sworn and civilian employees. Any investigation or hearing arising from a complaint will be fairly conducted with truth as the primary objective. A complaint against an officer should be registered with any supervisor in the Department. A supervisor is any employee with the rank of sergeant or above or any civilian specifically designated as a supervisor. Any supervisor receiving a complaint is required to notify his/her supervisor of the facts so that appropriate action may be taken. When an employee who is not a supervisor receives a complaint, that employee is required to immediately notify a supervisor. The specifics of the complaint are then determined. If the complaint is such that the supervisor is unable to investigate, or if assistance is needed, he or she will forward the complaint through the chain of command to the Chief of Police with a request for assistance. The complaint will then be reviewed and may be assigned to the Office of Professional Standards for further investigation. These are normally completed with 30 days.

In addition to having the ability to file a complaint against an officer, citizens are also encouraged to commend an officer for their actions during the performance of their duties. The complaint and commendation form can be used to commend or initiate a complaint against any officer employed with the Columbus Police Department.

The following acts or omissions may result in discipline of the employee: commission of a criminal offense, neglect of duty, any conduct which may reflect unfavorably upon the employees of the Department and any violation of Department orders, policies or procedures. After the complaint has been thoroughly investigated, the file will be submitted to the Chief of Police for review. All investigations of Departmental employees accused of misconduct will conclude with one of the following:

Sustained - The investigation's findings reveal sufficient evidence to prove the allegations.

Not Sustained - The investigation's findings reveal insufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the complaint.

Exonerated - The investigation's findings reveal the acts did occur but were justified, lawful and proper.

Unfounded - The investigation's findings reveal that the acts in the complaint did not occur or did not involve Departmental employees

Policy Failure - The investigation revealed the acts in the complaint did occur but were based on existing policy. Responsibility for the acts resides within Departmental policy and not the employee.

Administrative Investigation - The complainant failed to cooperate with the investigation and there is insufficient evidence to draw a conclusion and apply a finding.

The complainant will be advised of the outcome of the investigation. Any discipline as a result of a complaint may include the following: counseling, oral reprimand, remedial training, written reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension without pay, demotion or dismissal. Disciplinary actions are personnel matters and are not normally publicly disclosed.