EMPLOYEE COMMENDATION & COMPLAINT PROCESS
The North Miami Police Department has established standards for the performance of our employees and expects our employees to meet and exceed those standards.
The department’s commendation and complaint processes are integral parts for maintaining the integrity and performance of our officers by recognizing and rewarding professional behavior and by identifying and correcting inappropriate behavior. These processes are a direct reflection of our commitment to professional excellence. Whether you wish to make a commendation or complaint, rest assured you will be treated with respect and dignity.
The Police Department appreciates receiving positive feedback on the performance of our employees, and the employees appreciate it as well. The nature of our business means that some law enforcement encounters with the community occur in less than ideal situations. That is why it is important to recognize employees who go above and beyond to help the community during difficult times in a positive manner. If you feel that one of our employees did a great job, please let us know. Community recognition of our employees’ efforts helps create a positive cycle. As employees see that their efforts are appreciated, they increase those efforts, and everyone benefits. The department recognizes sworn and civilian employees by way of the Exceptional Service Award; Employee Excellence Award; Letters of Commendation, the Officer of the Month, Quarter, and Year; as well as the civilians’ Employee of the Quarter Award and Community Service Award.
If you feel that any of our employees did something improper or did not handle your encounter properly, please call or come to the Police Department and ask to speak to a supervisor. Many times, citizen concerns turn out to be the result of a misunderstanding about the law, legal guidelines, or policies and procedures, and that can frequently be corrected through discussion. Regardless of the nature of your complaint, it will be addressed. If you do not wish to make your complaint in person, you can submit your complaint through alternate methods, such as the form provided through this website, or you can pick up a complaint form from our station. Once completed, you can give it to any department supervisor or mail it to the department to the attention of the Office of Professional Compliance. You can also file a complaint by way of a letter or email to the department.
Once the complaint is received, it will be forwarded to the Office of Professional Compliance where it will be processed and classified. Once classified, the complaint will be handled by the Office of Professional Compliance or forwarded to the appropriated division for investigation. If a crime has been alleged, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will be contacted to determine if criminal charges should be filed.
During the investigation, statements will be taken from you, the witness(es), and the subject employee(s). All reasonable leads will be investigated. Employee investigations remain confidential until finalized. The complexity of the case will determine the amount of time needed to complete the investigation (days, weeks, or months).
The department utilizes a progressive discipline concept where the objective is to encourage appropriate behavior and performance and gain voluntary compliance with department policies and procedures. Informal complaints (discourtesy, improper action or procedure, mishandling a call, etc.) are generally handled by the involved employee’s immediate supervisor. Most of these types of complaints, when sustained, are resolved through training, counseling, and other informal methods. Complaints of serious misconduct, or allegations that could result in more severe sanctions, are referred to the Office of Professional Standards for formal internal investigation.
Once the investigation is complete, you will be notified in writing (providing address provided) of the result of the investigation. There are five possible findings, or the complainant withdraws the complaint:
- EXONERATED: The investigation revealed, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the complained of act(s) did not occur; or the investigation revealed, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the acts which provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the employee(s) actions were justified, lawful, and proper.
- NOT SUSTAINED: The investigation cannot, by a preponderance of the evidence, prove or disprove the complaint.
- SUSTAINED: The investigation revealed, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the employee committed one or more of the alleged acts, or the investigation disclosed other acts of misconduct.
- INFORMATION ONLY: The complaint has been filed. An investigation cannot proceed due to insufficient information and/or the complainant cannot be contacted. The case may be reopened at a future date, when new or additional information is received.
- OTHER FINDINGS: The allegation may be true, but the employee was acting in a manner consistent with Departmental policy, necessitating a review and revision of the policy as written. This finding must clearly detail how the policy failed or whether there is a policy absence that must be addressed, as well as a recommendation for revising the policy.
- WITHDRAWN: The complainant affirmatively indicated the desire to withdraw the complaint. The complainant will be required to sign a Complaint Withdraw Form.
If an employee is found to have acted improperly, appropriate action will be taken. Although we cannot guarantee that you will be satisfied with the outcome, we do guarantee that your inquiry/complaint will be thoroughly investigated.
Please keep in mind, Department employees, as do all citizens, have a Constitutional right to due process and other statutory protections. For this reason, formal action cannot be taken in the case of anonymous complaints without independent corroborating evidence, although anonymous complaints will still be documented and addressed. Some issues are not considered complaints. For example, guilt or innocence in an incident is a court issue that cannot be decided by the department. Only a court can decide if there is sufficient proof of the offense. In such case, the complainant will be referred to the proper court jurisdiction for the resolution of those issues. Also, any complaint that is shown to have been malicious in nature, and is knowingly false, may subject the complainant to possible criminal and/or civil sanctions. This does not apply to genuine misunderstandings, but to those instances where the complainant knew, or should have known, the information they were providing or the complaint they were making was false.
Should you have any questions, please contact the Office of Professional Compliance at (305) 891-0294, Ext. 24112.