The University of Washington Police Department looks at any allegation of wrongdoing or violation of policy or procedure very seriously. All accredited police departments in the State of Washington are required to have a process by which a citizen may make a complaint against police personnel. Here are some of the questions we frequently encounter regarding our complaint procedures.
There are two types of citizen's complaints. The first is an informal complaint. Normally the employee's immediate supervisor handles these complaints either over the telephone or in person.
The second type of complaint is a formal complaint. A formal complaint is submitted in writing. You may lodge a formal complaint with any supervisor in the police department.
A citizen's complaint may be made by anyone. If the complainant is under the age of 18, we require that the complainant be accompanied by a parent or an adult.
A complaint may be made by telephone, by mail or in person. The complaint may be made at the police department or another mutually agreed upon convenient location. The department is interested in learning about your concerns regarding police conduct or need for improvement in our services: the method of delivery for these comments is up to you.
A complaint may be made 24 hours a day. After normal business hours, a citizen's complaint may be registered with any supervisor or the on-duty Watch Commander by calling 206. 685.UWPD.
The complaint is received, reviewed and assigned for investigation. If the complaint is informal and can be resolved by the immediate supervisor to your satisfaction, you will not need to do anything further.
If the allegations are of a serious nature, the supervisor can recommend that the complaint become formal. No complaint will be formally investigated until a supervisor contacts the complainant in person or by telephone to determine if a formal complaint is warranted. If the allegations are found to be true and a violation of policy and/or procedures, the complaint will be forwarded to the Commander of Professional Standards & Training for a formal recommendation and then to the Chief of Police for a final determination. We will notify you in writing concerning the disposition of your complaint.
A complainant does not normally have to testify in any formal hearing. During the investigation, however, the UWPD will interview you and all witnesses concerning the incident to obtain relevant factual information.
We invite citizens to bring their concerns regarding police practices and services to our attention, however, anyone who alleges that a crime was committed and reports that to a police officer, knowing the report to be false, could be charged with a gross misdemeanor (RCW 9A.76.175).
If you have a complaint and are not sure how to proceed, please call any on-duty supervisor at 685.UWPD or 543.0507, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org