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Commendations and Complaints

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Complaints

The Westport Police Department takes its responsibility to the citizens of and visitors to the Town of Westport seriously. Part of that responsibility is being accountable for our actions. Most complaints are handled initially by the on-duty Shift Commander and most can be resolved with a phone call.

More serious complaints, including allegations of misconduct that violate department rules and regulations or are a violation of law, require more in-depth investigation.

Disagreements over guilt or innocence (i.e., traffic citations, arrests, etc.) are not handled within this process. These matters are handled through the judicial process unless you believe that the action taken was bias-based.

Who may file a complaint?

Any person who witnesses or has direct knowledge of suspected misconduct, either directly or indirectly involved, may initiate a complaint.

Can I report anonymously?

Yes. Anonymous complaints will be taken, but you must provide enough information that can be proven by other evidence.

How is a complaint filed?

Complaints may be filed in person, by telephone, letter or by completing and sending the Citizen Complaint Form  Ciudadano Formulario De Queja to:

Email:  ops@westportct.gov

OR

Address: 

Westport Police Department
Office of Professional Standards
50 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
ATTN: Professional Standards

If you choose not to use the form, please make sure written correspondence includes the following information:
  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • Your name, address and daytime location
  • Westport Police Department case number, if one exists
  • Name of employee(s) involved
  • A brief description of the incident
Relate the facts as you know them and be aware that you will be asked specific questions regarding the incident.

Who investigates the complaint?

Complaints are first reviewed by the Professional Standards Commander, and may be referred to the employee's supervisor for investigation or assigned to a different investigator. An investigation will focus on the conduct of the employee, separate from any criminal or civil charges against the complainant.


Completion of the Complaint:

You will be notified about the outcome of the investigation in writing. Findings include:

  • Unfounded - where the investigation determines, by preponderance of the evidence, that there are no facts to support that the incident complained of actually occurred;
  • Exonerated -  where the investigation determines, by preponderance
    of the evidence, that the alleged conduct did occur but did not violate
    WPD policies, procedures, or training;
  • Sustained - where the investigation determines, by preponderance of
    the evidence, that the person’s allegation is supported by sufficient
    evidence to determine that the incident occurred and the actions of
    the officer were improper;
  • Not Sustained - Not sustained: where the investigation determines, by preponderance
    of the evidence, that there is insufficient fact(s) to decide whether the
    alleged misconduct occurred.

What is the disciplinary process?

 If a complaint is sustained:

  • The matter will be handled administratively
  • Corrective training may occur
  • Disciplinary action may be taken; this can range from no penalty to dismissal

Town, state and federal personnel laws govern an employee's privacy rights. Certain information contained in disciplinary records may not be public record.

Compliments and Commendations

Compliments and commendations, whether verbal or written, are one of the best ways to let our employees know that you appreciate them. A commendation for an employee of the Westport Police Department:

  • Addresses any event that you feel deserves special recognition, including extraordinary acts, significant life saving measures or compassionate acts (or simply a simple thing well done!).
  • Is sent to the Chief of Police. You may also advise the employee's supervisor or Shift Commander.
  • Is documented; the employee and their supervisors will be notified.
Use the Commendation Form or send any compliments and commendations to:

Email:  westportpd@westportct.gov

Address:

Westport Police Department
Office of Professional Standards
50 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
ATTN: Chief of Police