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Public Complaint Process

Police Responsibilities

The Hartford Police Department (HPD) recognizes its responsibilities to maintain the public confidence and trust, and the need to ensure integrity and accountability, both by the agency and by each employee.

The Public's Repsonsibilities

As we recognize the rights of all citizens, the public should recognize that HPD employees must be able to exercise their best judgement in taking necessary and reasonable action in the performance of their duties without fear of reprisal.

Hartford Police Policy

It is the policy of HPD to respond to compliments or complaints received from the public.

Complaint letters follow a very specific protocol that:

  • Ensures fair and proper action is taken when an employee is accused of misconduct
  • Protects employees from unwarranted or false accusations
  • Ensures a thorough, fair, and objective investigation
  • Helps identify and correct deficiencies in policies, procedures and/or training

Public Complaint Protocol

Anyone can submit a complaint

Normally, the person most directly affected by the alleged conduct should be the person submitting the complaint. For example, a complaint of rudeness to a driver should be made by the driver, not a passenger in the vehicle.

Third-party complains will be excepted only under certain circumstances, such as, but not limited to, a parent filing on behalf of a minor child.

Complaints can be made at any time

To help ensure evidence is still available and recollections of the incident are fresh, complaints should be made as soon as possible after the alleged misconduct occurred.

Complaints may be made in one of the following ways

  • By e-mail to the Commander of the Internal Affairs Department (IAD) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • By mail to the Commander of IAD at:
    Commander of IAD
    Hartford Police Department
    Public Safety Complex
    253 High Street
    Hartford, CT 06103
  • In person at HPD Headquarters at the Public Safety Complex at 253 High Street, Hartford CT
  • By telephoning HPD at 860-757-4350 or the IAD at 860-757-4030

All complaints received by HPD are forwarded to IAD, where they are logged in and assigned an IAD case number.

Complaints should be concise and specific

Be clear in your description of the employee's alleged conduct. For example rather than saying the employee was rude, explain how the employee was rude by:

  • Providing specific words or phrases used
  • Describing the employee's tone of voice
  • Citing particular rude actions taken by the employee

Identify the employee as much as possible by providing the:

  • Employee's badge number and patrol vehicle number
  • Date, time, and location of the incident
  • If available, include the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all witnesses

Please note that HPD officers are required by policy to properly identify themselves upon request

The subject of the complaint should involve alleged misconduct by the employee

The focus of the HPD complaint procedure is on alleged misconduct by an HPD employee; the definition of "misconduct" encompasses violations of laws or HPD policies and procedures. Dissatisfaction with an arrest or ticket is not considered a "complaint", and you will be referred to the court with the appropriate jurisdiction to handle your appeal.

Anonymous complaints are investigated, but not recommended

Employees are prohibited from retaliating against you for reporting truthful information in lodging a complaint against them.

Any charges or legal issues (present or future) must be decided by the appropriate court. The investigation of your complaint will focus on the conduct of the employee, not charges against you. Any charges against you are a separate issue that you will have to resolve in court. Therefore, if you were arrested or issued a ticket or summons during the incident that led to your complaint, you must still follow the direct of the court in resolving the case.

Complaint Investigation Process

Every complaint of misconduct will be processed by HPD's Internal Affairs Division (IAD).

Upon receipt of a complaint, IAD will assign the case for investigation. Generally, complaints of a routine nature, will be assigned to the employee's supervisor or commander. More serious or complex matters will be investigated by IAD.

Investigators will:

  • Attempt to contact the complainant, the accused employee, and all witnesses
  • Examine physical evidence
  • Review reports and records
  • Thoroughly document the facts surrounding the incident and allegation

 

The investigator's report will be submitted to the IAD commander who will review it for completeness and objectivity and then forward it up through the chain of command to the Chief of Police.

Submitting a Complaint

HPD is dedicated to providing the higest quality police services to residents of, and visitors to, Hartford, CT. Your compliments and complaints are important to HPD, and we appreciate you taking the time to communicate with us

To e-mail a complaint download and complete a Complaint form (English|Spanish) then e-mail the Chief of Police at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or the IAD Commander at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

To mail a complaint, download a Complaint form (English|Spanish), or pick one up from any HPD headquarters or substation. Complete it, and mail it, addressed to the Chief of Police at the address listed above.

The public can also file a complaint in person or by telephoning the police department during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Investigative Procedures

The standard of proof in an administrative investigation is a preponderance of evidence. It is less than the standard in a criminal case, which is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Police employees have the right to appeal to the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration. This state agency has standards that must be met for acceptance of evidence. You may be asked to submit a sworn statement during the course of the investigation.

In a criminal investigation, HPD employees have the same rights as any citizen, including the right to remain silent. If officers are ordered to answer questions or face discipline, their answers cannot be used against them in a criminal matter.

Under state law, complaint investigations are public records. Once completed, the investigation is retained and must be made available for review or release upon request.

In addition to HPD Internal Affairs Investigators, you may be asked for an interview by investigators of the City's Office of Human Relations. We asked that you fully and truthfully cooperate with both investigations.

Disciplinary Action

Once management has reached a final disposition, appropriate action will be taken. This may involve document counseling or re-training. It may also involve the imposition of disciplinary action, which includes oral reprimand, written reprimand, suspension, or termination.

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Hartford Police Department
Public Safety Complex
253 High Street
Hartford CT, 06103
860-757-4000

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HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM