Making a Complaint

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The Clearwater Police Department thoroughly investigates all complaints in a fair and unbiased manner. Citizen complaints are accepted in any format, including anonymous. When received, the complaint will be evaluated, and depending on the circumstances, either investigated by the Office of Professional Standards or routed to the appropriate supervisor in order to resolve the conflict. If a citizen wishes to make a complaint against an employee, they may do so in person, by phone, email, letter or through the Clearwater Connect system.

 In order to fulfill our mission, the police department offers a variety of community oriented services which are intended to enhance the safety and quality of life for persons who may visit, reside or work in the City of Clearwater. A dedicated, well-trained, and professional staff provides these services. Every day, our employees are ready to provide police assistance to the resident population of over 100,000 and to a large influx of people who are on vacation or who live in the surrounding communities and seek the services and entertainment available in the city. As a result, our personnel may respond to the individual needs of over 120,000 people on any given day.

Each year, employees of the Clearwater Police Department respond to more than 200,000 calls for service. These calls result in over 18,000 criminal reports, as well as thousands of other incidents where polices ervices are requested. In a typical year, less than 100 of these incidents result in formal citizen complaints against members of the department. The standards of the Clearwater Police Department are among the highest in the nation and our officers are among the best trained.

Our community, and the level of police service that we provide, can best be supported through your involvement and interest in the activities of the police department. Biased based profiling in the Clearwater Police Department is totally unacceptable. Any person may file a complaint with the department if they feel they have been stopped or searched based on racial, ethnic, or gender-based profiling. As a means of enhancing employee performance and improving police/community relations, the Clearwater Police Department encourages questions, recommendations and comments from citizens who have observed a need for improvement in our service or recognized the excellent performance of our agency or its employees.

In Person

You may come to the main police headquarters at 645 Pierce St. and ask to speak with a supervisor or a member of the Office of Professional Standards.

By Phone

You may call 727-562-4242 and ask to speak with a supervisor or call the Office of Professional Standards at 727-562-4304.

By Mail

You may send a letter to the Office of Professional Standards at 645 Pierce St., Clearwater, FL 33756.

Clearwater Connect

You may submit the complaint electronically via the Clearwater Connect system.

It is normally the responsibility of the employee’s immediate supervisor to speak with you about your complaint. If the employee’s immediate supervisor is not readily available or you cannot arrange to meet with them because of scheduling, you may speak with the employee’s District or Division Commander. You may also file a complaint by writing aletter directly to the Chief of Police or by contacting a member of the Office of Professional Standards. Your letter or verbal complaint will be given appropriate attention. If you do not speak directly with a supervisorabout your complaint, either a supervisor oran investigator from the Office of Professional Standards will contact you later.

In order to ensure that complaints against our employees are properly and thoroughly investigated, it may be necessary for you to provide a sworn statement to an investigator about the employee’s alleged actions; particularly if the nature of your complaintinvolves an allegation of serious misconduct. However, in many cases, the employee’s immediate supervisor will be able to effectively handle your complaint without taking a sworn statement. The supervisor will then take the appropriate steps to alleviate your concerns or correct the employee’s performance, if necessary. In many instances, an inquiry done by the employee’s supervisor and an explanation about police policy or procedures may assist you in understanding the employee’s actions. The Clearwater Police Department encourages citizens to file complaints regarding employee misconduct, but complaints must be made in good faith. Should the department discover that acomplainant or witness made false statements concerning the incident, the department may contact the State Attorney’s Office regarding prosecution.

THE INVESTIGATION OF YOUR COMPLAINT

If your complaint or concern cannot be resolved to your satisfaction by the employee’s immediate supervisor, or it involves a violation of department regulations, it will be immediately forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards for review and investigative assignment. Either an investigator with the Office of Professional Standards or a supervisor in the employee’s chain of command will handle the investigation of your complaint. All complaints involving violations ofdepartment regulation, regardless of their source, will be accepted and investigated. The extent of the investigation depends upon the nature of the complaint, whether the source of the information can be identified or the accuracy verified, the seriousness of the allegations, and the number of persons involved in the incident. In all cases, the Office of Professional Standards will officially record your complaint and ensure it is properly investigated. The assigned investigator or a supervisor of the employee will contact you for additional information and to arrange for a formal interview, if necessary. After the allegations have been fully investigated, the Chief of Police will determine what action, if any, should be taken to resolve the complaint. You will be notified of the results of the investigation, regardless of the outcome.