Philadelphia Criminal Law News

How to File a Complaint Against a Philadelphia Police Officer

What do you do when the friendly, protective presence of the Philadelphia police is not that friendly or protective? The Philadelphia Police Department has provided a complaint mechanism through which anyone can file a complaint against a Philadelphia police officer for inappropriate conduct.

Philadelphia police officers generally do a great job in stopping crime, apprehending criminals, and working to protect citizens. However, given the number of crimes that occur and the violent nature of the job, police officers sometimes do overstep their authority and engage in inappropriate conduct such as harassment and overzealous enforcement.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to excessive or unwarranted conduct by the Philadelphia police, you will want to know the following steps for filing a complaint:

  1. Access the Online Form. You can access the online complaint form here.

  2. Provide Your Personal Information. For the Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate your complaint, they will need your personal information. So anonymous complaints are typically not possible.

  3. Give as Many Details as Possible. To help investigators review your claim, you will need to provide as many details and facts as possible. This can include providing the names and contact information of witnesses, the date of the incident, and identifying information about the officers involved.

  4. Submit the Form. The form can be done online as well.

After submitting the complaint, the Internal Affairs Division Commander will review your claims. If the complaint is of conduct that would violate police procedures or laws, an investigation will begin. Investigators will interview the relevant parties and witnesses and gather other relevant data.

If the investigation supports your complaint, the Internal Affairs Division Commander will recommend corrective action. When the investigation is completed you will also be notified of the disposition of the complaint; for example, the complaint may be determined to be unfounded, exonerated, or sustained.

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