The Champaign Police Department has a policy to address citizen complaints regarding our agency and employees. The purpose of the policy is to give citizens a fair way to file a complaint when they believe a police employee did, or might have done something wrong. The policy protects the legal rights of both citizens and employees, and we value the opportunity to explain our actions, or discover if there has been misconduct by police staff.
This Police Department wants to do the right thing. We are committed to fair and effective law enforcement. We do not excuse any wrong acts by police. To follow our policy, the Chief of Police will:
- Begin discipline against employees guilty of misconduct.
- Remove employees who are unfit for law enforcement work.
- File criminal charges against employees when supported by enough evidence.
- Dismiss unfair claims against innocent employees.
- File criminal charges against people who knowingly make a false report to Champaign Police.
Formal complaints claiming police employee misconduct shall be filed within 30 days of the event. Only extraordinary problems should prevent such filing. In such case, the citizen must notify the Police Department of the intent to file a complaint within 30 days of the incident. The citizen can ask for an extension up to 60 days to formally file a complaint.
Complaints may be made in person, by mail/email, or by telephone. In-person complaint interviews at the Police Department are preferable to gather as much information as possible so the citizen won’t have to be re-interviewed (the interview is audio/videotaped). If you have been arrested, you are strongly encouraged to discuss your charges with an attorney. Contact information for submitting complaint filings:
Champaign Police Department
82 E. University Avenue
City of Champaign Community Relations Department
102 N. Neil Street
Mediation with a professional mediator is an option for complaints of a less serious nature, such as rudeness or wrong action. This is done prior to investigation of the complaint. It can be useful for both parties to hear each other out. Mediation must be agreed upon by both the citizen and the officer, and both parties must participate in good faith with a professional mediator. What is discussed in mediation remains confidential. If the citizen is not satisfied with the outcome of the mediation with the officer, the complaint will continue in the formal complaint process. If the citizen is satisfied, the complaint is completed.
Citizens who file a complaint must:
- Fill out the complaint form completely, including at least one way to contact the citizen.
- Be personally involved in the incident with the police employee, or the parent of an involved juvenile.
- Provide enough detail about the incident that the Police Department can locate records of the incident.
- Specify what he/she believes the officer did wrong.
- Affirm that the allegations are true.
- Be available for interviews in person by the investigating supervisor.
- Promptly give the investigating supervisor copies of evidence or documents, and/or names of witnesses related to the complaint. If the person complaining fails to cooperate with this process, the matter will be investigated as an internal inquiry. It will not be a formal complaint. If so, the citizen may not be notified in writing about the decision.
The formal complaint process includes the following steps:
1) The complaint will be received from the citizen and will be written up as an investigative report by a police officer or supervisor. The citizen will be required to affirm the allegations are true. A copy will be provided to them, if desired, along with a Citizen Complaint Fact Sheet.
2) The Professional Standards Deputy Chief will mail the citizen a letter and a copy of the complaint form filled out by the citizen. The letter will list the specific concerns from the initial complaint. The citizen should review the information so that all concerns are addressed.
3) A supervisor or investigator may later interview the citizen and any witnesses.
4) Citizens who claim excessive use of force shall be asked to sign a release to the Police Department for any relevant medical records.
5) All documents about misconduct complaints are confidential.
6) The investigation will usually be done within 45 calendar days after the complaint and submitted to the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police may extend this time to improve the investigation.
When the investigation is finished, the following will happen:
1) Facts from the investigation of the complaint will be reviewed by a Division Deputy Chief and the Chief of Police.
2) The Chief of Police will choose one of the following outcomes:
- Unfounded: Allegation is false or not factual.
- Exonerated: Allegation is true, but the action was legal and followed correct departmental policy.
- Not Sustained: Not enough evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.
- Sustained: Allegation is true and the action was illegal and/or did not follow departmental policy.
3) The citizen shall be notified in writing about the decision and if any action will be taken. This notice shall be provided by the Chief of Police at the end of the investigation.
4) The citizen may ask for a review of the Police Chief’s decision by the City Manager within 30 days.
For questions regarding the completion or review of conduct forms, please contact the Professional Standards Deputy Chief at 217-403-6913.