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.
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.
It is the policy of HPD to respond to compliments or complaints received from the public.
Complaint letters follow a very specific protocol that:
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 complaints will be excepted only under certain circumstances, such as, but not limited to, a parent filing on behalf of a minor child.
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.
All complaints received by HPD are forwarded to IAD, where they are logged in and assigned an IAD case number.
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:
Identify the employee as much as possible by providing the:
Please note that HPD officers are required by policy to properly identify themselves upon request
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.