People file complaints for many different reasons and with different goals in mind. Here are some a few examples of possible reasons.
Receive a Fair Hearing
Filing a complaint means that the alleged misconduct will be impartially investigated. Police officers are more often than not disciplined when the board finds that they engaged in misconduct.
Speak Directly to the Officer
You may be offered the option of having your complaint mediated. Mediation lets you resolve a complaint by talking with the officer face-to-face. You and the officer sit down as equals in a quiet, private space and have a discussion under the guidance of a trained and independent mediator.
Create a Record
By filing a complaint, you are making a permanent record that will remain in the officer’s personnel history.
Change the Officer’s Behavior
Officers are often retrained and disciplined when the CCRB finds that they committed misconduct. This can prevent future abusive behavior. Because your complaint becomes part of an officer’s personnel record, even if the CCRB does not substantiate your allegations, police supervisors are made aware of potentially abusive officers.
Change Police Department Practices
Complaints can alert police supervisors about abusive practices within their precincts or commands. Plus, the CCRB monitors complaint activity for patterns of misconduct or evidence of problems with departmental training and policies, and recommends solutions to the police commissioner.
Note: What Happens When You Delay Filing
Investigations become more difficult with the passage of time. Also, in most cases administrative charges for misconduct can only be brought against a police officer within 18 months of the date of the incident and the investigation can take many months or even a year or more to complete.