Internal Affairs Bureau
750 E. Long St.
Columbus, OH 43203
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Hours: 7:00am to 9:00pm
Introduction to the Compliments & Complaints Procedure
The Columbus Division of Police is committed to providing quality service to all individuals in the City of Columbus. Our work impacts the quality of life in our community. To show our promise to fairness, all employees are sworn to uphold the Division’s police code of ethics, rules, policies, directives, and orders as well as all city, state, and federal laws that relate to their employment.
To file a compliment on Division personnel call the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police Patrol Office at (614) 645-4580 and ask to speak with the Patrol Administrative Sergeant.
The citizen complaint system is designed to provide people with a way to express their concerns about police service. This system provides a fair, factual, and objective review of an individual’s concern. (NOTE: Complaints about the underlying reason for a traffic citation or criminal arrest must be resolved by the court and cannot be investigated as a complaint against a Division of Police employee.)
Complaint Forms and Pamphlets
Spanish (Español) Pamphlet
Reasoning for Filing a Complaint
First, decide what you think the employee did wrong. For example, do you believe:
~ An officer used too much force during an arrest?
~ An employee was rude to you?
~ An officer violated your rights?
~ You are a victim of racial profiling?
All complaints should be filed within 90 days of the incident, unless there are special circumstances. Complaints filed immediately improve the investigator’s chance of gathering factual information.
To file a complaint, contact the Division of Police by one of the following methods:
Online: Click HERE
Telephone: Call (614) 645-4880, 24 hours a day. You will speak to a supervisor who will review your complaint. If your complaint needs an immediate response to collect evidence or witness statements, an Internal Affairs or Division supervisor will be sent to the incident location.
In Person: You can file your complaint in person at 750 E. Long Street (43203) between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm daily. You can speak directly with an Internal Affairs supervisor or complete a citizen complaint form.
Mail/Fax/Email: You can send a written complaint by mail, fax, or email to the address below. It is important to include your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you about your complaint.
Columbus Division of Police
Internal Affairs Bureau
750 E. Long Street
Columbus, OH 43203
Fax: (614) 645-4079
Upon reviewing your complaint, the supervisor may be able to explain the employee’s actions to your satisfaction, or refer you to a supervisor who can. If this is the case, the matter will be closed. If your complaint needs to be investigated, it will be given to an investigator who will contact you within 72 hours. If you have not been contacted within 72 hours, please call (614) 645-4880 to make sure the investigator has your correct contact information.
Investigation of Your Complaint
The investigator will conduct a detailed investigation of the incident and gather statements from you and witnesses. Your assistance is expected and additional information may be needed. If the accusation is serious, you may be asked to take a polygraph test. This does not mean the investigator thinks you are lying, but wants to further prove the truthfulness of your accusation. When the investigation is complete, the investigator will give a written report to the involved employee’s chain of command. Their recommendations will be reviewed by a Deputy Chief and he/she will decide the appropriate outcome.
Outcome of Your Complaint
You will receive a letter by mail stating the outcome of your complaint. Please be aware that a detailed investigation and review of the facts can take time. You may not be notified about the final outcome for several weeks. If the complaint requires an extensive investigation, it may take even longer. The investigator will keep you informed of the status and advise you of any unusual delays. Most investigations are completed within 90 days after filing the complaint.
Your investigation will result in one of the following findings:
Sustained – The accusation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Depending on the severity of the action, a sustained finding may result in disciplinary action.
Not Sustained – There is not enough evidence to either prove or disprove the accusation.
Unfounded – The alleged conduct is refuted by a preponderance of the evidence.
Exonerated – The accusation is true, but the action taken by the employee was legal and
appropriate for the situation.
Policy/Procedure – The accusation was clearly about the proper use of an approved
Division policy, or by lawful order from a supervisor.
Cancelled for Cause – The alleged misconduct could not have occurred or the person named in the complaint is not a Division employee. (or) The complainant is identified as a chronic complainer or appears to have a mental deficiency and fails to provide any credible or plausible evidence of misconduct warranting further investigation.
Not Investigated – The allegation was received from an anonymous source and does not contain corroborative evidence nor can corroborative evidence be reasonably obtained. (or) The allegation was received more than 90 days after the alleged incident, is not potentially criminal in nature, or is not serious misconduct that could result in termination.
Withdrawn – The complainant retracted the allegation(s) through either a verbal or written statement.
Appealing the Outcome of Your Complaint - If you are not satisfied with the decision regarding your complaint, you may file an appeal by contacting the Deputy Chief of the involved employee. Contact must be made within 14 days of receiving the outcome letter. The letter will contain the name and phone number of the appropriate Deputy Chief. Your appeal should describe any further information you have that may change the Deputy Chief’s decision.
False Complaints - The Division of Police is committed to investigating concerns of employee misconduct. Officers can be targets of false complaints by people who seek revenge on them for doing their job. The Ohio Revised Code makes it a misdemeanor of the first degree to knowingly file a false complaint of misconduct against a peace officer. The Division feels that people need to know the law exists and that when appropriate, the charge may be filed against violators of this law. Please remember, it is not only expensive to investigate false complaints, but can also affect an officer’s career. This information is given not to keep people from filing complaints but to inform them of the law.