Officer Compliments / Complaints
The South Hutchinson Police Department believes that trust and communication are essential pillars of any successful relationship. We strive to earn the public's trust, develop efficient and effective lines of communication, and maintain a positive working relationship with our community. Therefore the South Hutchinson Police Department provides a way that members of the public can thank an officer for going above and beyond their duty or file a complaint for misconduct.
If you are pleased with an interaction from us, we welcome praise and compliments about individual members of our department. The information you provide helps us to recognize and share examples of good practice in order to improve the service we deliver. We will pass your comments on to the employee and their supervisor. Please fill out this form and either drop it by the office, mail it or email it back to us.
THE COMPLAINT PROCESS
The following explains what you can expect to happen if you file a complaint (allegation) and outlines the process and timeline.
To start a complaint, you may contact the South Hutchinson Police Department at (620) 560-6251 or in person at 10 E. Blanchard Ave. If submitting a complaint in person, it is best to do this Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
You may also complete the Citizen Complaint Form and submit it to the South Hutchinson Police Department in person, by mail, by email, or by fax (620) 560-6281. This may be done at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If the complaint involves allegations of suspected racial profiling or bias-based policing by a law enforcement officer, department member or the South Hutchinson Police Department, a complaint may also be filed with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office at (785) 296-2215 or at https://ag.ks.gov/complaint-center.
Sometimes people do not feel comfortable making a complaint against a Police Department employee because of language barriers, cultural differences, or other reasons. If you need assistance because of language barriers, interpreters are available. Contact the Captain of Operations at (620) 560-6251.
If you choose to make a complaint, we will follow a formal process to ensure that your complaint is thoroughly investigated. When you file a complaint, you will be asked to complete a “Complaint Form” which requests information including your name, address, a telephone number where you can be reached, and the details of your complaint, including date, time, location, and name of the involved employee(s), if known. The “Complaint Form” is the preferred method of receiving a complaint; however the police department will accept a complaint in any form. But, to properly investigate a complaint, the above requested information needs to be provided.
Police Officers must be free to exercise their best judgment and initiate proper action in a reasonable, lawful, impartial manner, without fear of reprisal. At the same time, they must observe the rights of all people. The complaint process and appropriate disciplinary procedures not only subject agency members to corrective action when they conduct themselves improperly, the guidelines also protect them from unwarranted criticism when they discharge their duties properly.
A disagreement over the validity of a traffic violation is not considered a compliant that will be investigated by department administration. Such disagreements should be directed to the court or individual that has jurisdiction in the matter.
The Police Department realizes that confusion, different perceptions, or the timeliness of information sometimes will result in descriptions that produce different versions of the same incident. Beyond legitimate error, the deliberate making of a report that the complainant knows to be false, or misleading could constitute a violation of State Law.
The complaint process is designed to deal with each case factually and fairly. Citizens who file complaints are treated respectfully, and their accusations are taken seriously. All properly filed complaints are investigated thoroughly, and all findings are based on impartial evidence gained during the investigation. However, often a complaint can be explained satisfactorily by a visit or telephone call to the employee's supervisor. The supervisor will talk with you about your complaint and try to resolve it. To do so, contact or leave a message for Sergeant Jayson Gaines at (620) 560-6251.
There are two types of complaints. The first and most serious are complaints alleging a violation of a law which are considered criminal investigations. The second type of complaint includes allegations of a less serious nature and may concern violations of Department policy. Both of these types of complaints are considered serious and investigated to their fullest.
Although employees named in a complaint will be notified of the complaint and at some point, be required to respond to the specific allegation, they are not permitted access to cases under investigation. Complainants need not be concerned that they will be subject to retribution for legitimately stating a complaint, because procedures are in place to prevent this from occurring.
When we receive your complaint, the Chief of Police will send a letter to inform you that your complaint has been received and assigned for investigation. The assigned investigator will conduct a thorough investigation. He or She will interview the employee involved and any witnesses. You may be contacted for additional details or to clarify the information you have already provided.
Our policy is to complete the investigation within approximately 30 days from the date we receive the complaint. You will be notified of the outcome upon the completion of the investigation. The Chief of Police will make the final determination about the complaint, based on the facts available and the recommendations of the investigating officer assigned to the complaint. The Chief’s final decision will be one of five findings:
- The investigation conclusively proved that the act complained of did not occur. This finding also applies when an individual employee(s) named in the complaint was not involved in the act, which may have occurred.
- The act which provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed that the act was justified, lawful and proper.
- Not sustained:
- The investigation failed to disclose sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegation made in the complaint or to conclusively disprove such allegations.
- The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegation made in the complaint.
- Sustained Against Policy:
- The investigation revealed a faulty policy and/or procedure.
If an allegation is sustained, appropriate action will be taken. The action may involve counseling, verbal or written reprimand, suspension from duty, or termination. You will be notified in writing as to the disposition of the complaint that you have filed.
However, in accordance with the law, and out of respect for employees' privacy, we do not release what specific discipline was imposed on the employee.
Complainants who have current criminal or traffic charges pending should be aware that the internal review process deals solely with Department policy matters and the conduct of agency employees. Regardless of the outcome of an internal investigation, existing criminal or traffic charges must be dealt with through the proper courts.
Things to Know
The South Hutchinson Police Department routinely checks the police records of the people with whom we have contact, including people who file complaints. If a Police Officer has contact with you and is aware of a warrant, he/she is legally compelled to arrest you. However, we do not want this to prevent you from giving us feedback. If you have an outstanding warrant, please clear it with the Court.
If you are an undocumented resident, we will not report you to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless you have been convicted of certain criminal offenses. It is not our job, as City police, to detect or apprehend people who may be in the country or working illegally. We want to hear from all community members.
If it is determined that a complaint is filed out of retaliation to an officer conducting their job professionally, courteously and within department policy, appropriate charges may be filed for falsifying a police report through the South Hutchinson Municipal Court.