The University of Rhode Island Police Department is committed to providing the highest level of professional police service to the members of our community. All of our police officers are graduates of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy and are vested with the same duties and responsibilities as all other police officers in the State of Rhode Island. While we endeavor to make all citizen contacts a positive experience, we recognize that on occasion an individual interaction with the police may not be perceived as being so. In these instances the department provides a process in which members of the community can make a complaint regarding the performance/conduct of a department employee. This complaint will be fully investigated by the department. Conversely members of the community are encouraged to commend members of the department who provide exceptional service to our community. Below are some frequently asked questions that we hope will be helpful to you.
Q: When should I file a complaint?
A: You should file a complaint whenever you feel that the service you received from a member of the department did not meet your expectations of professionalism. Your complaint may be regarding an employee’s conduct or a policy or procedure of the department.
Q: How do I file a complaint?
A: Complaints may be filed in many ways. We would prefer that the person who has the complaint come to the police station in person and speak with the Major or any other police supervisor. Complaints may also be filed by phone, mail, email, or through the URI Police website.
Q: Who will investigate my complaint?
A: All complaints received by the department will be forwarded to the Major for his review. The Major will evaluate the complaint for the purpose of determining what level of investigation is appropriate. Minor infractions of departmental rules will be referred to the employee’s supervisor. Complaints of a more serious nature or regarding departmental policies or procedures will be assigned to the department’s Internal Affairs Officer for investigation.
Q: How will my complaint be investigated?
A: Regardless of who will be conducting the investigation, the officer doing so will review any pertinent police reports and statements. The investigating officer will look at any existing physical evidence. The complainant, the officer who is the target of the investigation (if there is one), and any witnesses will be interviewed. Once this activity has been completed the investigating officer will submit a report of his/her findings to the Major.
Q: What are the possible outcomes of my complaint?
A: In the event that the complaint is based on the activity of an individual officer or employee of the department, there are several possible outcomes. The complaint could be sustained or not sustained. The officer or employee could be exonerated. In some cases the actions that were the basis of the complaint could be consistent with department policy, and the policy could be found to be deficient. In those cases the department would need to modify the policy to bring it in line with preferred behavior.
Q: Will I be notified of the outcome of the investigation?
A: You will receive a letter from the Major advising you that the investigation is complete and what the outcome of the investigation was. These are personnel matters so the information you receive may be limited. Should disciplinary action be imposed you will not be informed of what specific action was taken.
Q: I wish to make a complaint, but I don’t want to identify myself. Can I make an anonymous complaint?
A: Yes you can. All complaints will be investigated, including anonymous complaints. However it should be understood that anonymous complaints do limit the amount of information available to the investigator and we would prefer to be able to interview the complainant.
Q: What can I do if I am happy with the service I was given by a department employee?
A: In those cases we would love to hear from you. The best method would be to contact the Major in writing. That way not only will the information be given to the particular officer or employee, the written document can be placed in the employee’s personnel file.