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Citizen Complaints

The following information is provided to you by the Milwaukee Police Department to inform you of the citizen complaint process.

Citizens, who wish to express dissatisfaction with members or policies of this department, should adhere to the following guidelines to ensure that a complete and proper investigation is conducted.

As a citizen, if you believe you have been mistreated or have not received adequate service, you have a moral and legal right to express dissatisfaction with your police department. This will not only make you a responsible citizen, but your input will help to improve the department.

No member of the Milwaukee Police Department will attempt to interfere or influence your right to complain about the service this department provides to you. Your complaint will be thoroughly and impartially investigated.

Because of the responsibilities imposed on all parties involved in the Citizen Complaint Process, the Milwaukee Police Department must inform you that Wisconsin Law, 946.66(2), False Complaints of Police Misconduct, states in part:

“Whoever, knowingly makes a false complaint regarding the conduct of a law enforcement officer is subject to a Class A forfeiture.”

If you believe a member of this Department has acted improperly or has violated a Department Code of Conduct, a federal or state law, or an ordinance of the City of Milwaukee, you may file a written complaint. However, false complaints will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR FILING YOUR COMPLAINT

What is a complaint – A complaint is a belief that a member of the Milwaukee Police Department has violated a Department Code of Conduct, a federal or state law, an ordinance of the City of Milwaukee, or dissatisfaction with a policy or procedure of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Who can file a complaint – In most cases, a complaint can be filed by any citizen or agent representing an aggrieved or injured party. However, the agent shall be limited to the following.

An attorney representing the aggrieved citizen
The parent or guardian of a minor child
A translator representing a non-English speaking complainant

Agents can obtain a Citizen Complaint Form for the aggrieved or injured party and assist with its completion. A citizen complaint can be filed at any police district, bureau, or division. All complaint reports are confidential.

Filing your complaint - You may file your complaint by going to a district station or calling the department and asking for a supervisor to meet with you. You may also call the Internal Affairs Division at (414) 935-7942. Complaints can also be filed with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

When you file your complaint, please provide the following information to the supervisory officer (or investigator) writing your complaint or on the complaint form you are filing yourself:

Your personal information (full name, date of birth, address, phone number)
The date and time of the incident
The nature of the incident
All parties involved, witnesses, records, photographs and other evidence
What must be filed – In most cases, when a complaint is filed, a narrative of the complaint will be written by a supervisory officer on the Citizen Complaint Form. The citizen or agent will sign the Citizen Complaint Form, the form will be notarized, and a copy will be provided. However, if more convenient for the citizen, the Citizen Complaint Form can be completed at a later time, and returned to the Milwaukee Police Department. If the Citizen Complaint Form is returned by mail, it should be sent to the following address:

Milwaukee Police Department
Internal Affairs Division
6680 North Teutonia Avenue
Room 325
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53209

WHAT HAPPENS WITH YOUR COMPLAINT

The investigation – The Department will conduct a thorough investigation to include interviews of all available witnesses.

Who will investigate – Supervisors and/or detectives, under the direction of the Internal Affairs Division, will conduct all complaint investigations. Their duty is to gather all the facts and present these facts for review.

Length of investigation – Most investigations will be completed within a timely manner. Complex investigations may take several months to complete.

THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF COMPLAINT

The completed investigation – Once the initial complaint has been thoroughly investigated and all of the facts have been gathered, the completed investigation will be reviewed. This review will determine if there was compliance with the department Code of Conduct, federal or state laws, ordinances of the city of Milwaukee, or the policies and procedures of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Decision of the Chief of Police – If the Chief of Police determines there is a violation of department Code of Conduct, federal or state laws, ordinances of the city of Milwaukee, or policies and procedures of the Milwaukee Police Department, criminal charges will be sought, disciplinary action, and/or a change of policy may result.

Notification – When the final disposition has been made, a notification letter will be sent informing the complaining party of the outcome of the investigation.

Complaint Review – Citizens have the option of having their complaints reviewed by the Fire and Police Commission. For further information regarding this procedure, contact the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

Fire and Police Commission
200 East Wells Street, Room 706,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Phone Number (414) 286-5000

The Milwaukee Police Department cannot make monetary awards or provide legal assistance. Information obtained during these investigations is considered confidential and will not be divulged except in accordance with State Statute (103.13) governing the release or inspection of personnel records.

For further information on the Citizen Complaint Process, please contact:

Milwaukee Police Department Internal Affairs Division
(414) 935-7942

Milwaukee Police Department Internal Affairs Division
(414) 935-7942