Citizen Complaint Procedure
A citizen can file a complaint by contacting any Illinois State Police district headquarters or by speaking directly to an Illinois State Police employee. Complaints may also be filed through the Office of the Governor of the state of Illinois, or the Illinois State Police, Division of Internal Investigation. Effective January 1, 2006, an amendment to the State Police Act, 20 ILCS 2610/14, requires that anyone filing a complaint against a State Police Officer must have the complaint supported by a sworn affidavit. Therefore all Complaint Against Department Member forms must be notarized. You can find the form on the home page under the Forms heading.
Due to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) - Section 150.510, the Merit Board will not consider any complaint based upon conduct which antedates by three years the date the complaint is filed, except in those instances where the conduct complained of is parallel to criminal conduct as provided by the laws of this state, the United States or any governmental subdivision thereof, in which case this shall conform with the applicable criminal statute of limitations when the applicable criminal statute of limitations is longer. On Petitions for Review, the Board will reverse the suspension based on conduct which antedates by three (3) years the date the suspension was given.
When a complaint is filed, the following procedures are activated:
1. Complaint Initiation
When misconduct is observed or complaints/information relative to misconduct are received by a member of the Illinois State Police, the department member will immediately notify a supervisor and prepare a written report to be forwarded through the chain of command containing information received, observations, and action taken. The supervisor or command officer who first receives the information of the alleged violation will ensure the citizen is aware of the complaint process and has been provided a Complaint Against Department Member form (ISP3-23). The supervisor or command officer will ensure the complaint against department member form has been properly completed and notarized by the complainant prior to forwarding the complaint.
Illinois Compiled Statutes, sections 720 ILCS 5/31-4 and 5/26-1, state it is a criminal offense for any person to knowingly submit false information or transmit false information to a peace/public officer knowing there is no reasonable grounds that such offense has been committed.
The Illinois State Police, Division of Internal Investigation, will be contacted by the District/Zone Commander, Bureau Chief or their designee and informed of the complaint. The Division of Internal Investigation will determine who will be responsible for conducting an investigation and assign a case number to the complaint.
2. Investigative Process
The officer assigned to investigate a complaint against department employee will contact all complainants and witnesses as soon as possible. It is in everyone’s best interest that the complainant is cooperative with the investigating officer so the complaint can be thoroughly investigated. The investigating officer may request a written statement from the complainant and witnesses. These statements will assist the investigator in conducting a fair, impartial, timely, and thorough investigation. The investigating officer will prepare a summary of the investigation and forward the findings through his/her chain of command. However, the investigating officer does not make recommendations regarding the disposition of the complaint or disciplinary matters involving the affected employee.
3. Time Frame of Investigations
The scope of the investigation will be determined by the seriousness of the allegation and by the number of persons involved. Investigations may take several weeks depending on the complexity of the case. Investigators make every attempt to conduct personal interviews with complainants, witnesses, or employees while conducting the investigation. A criminal investigation may require the cooperation of federal or state prosecutors. The Illinois State Police will not arbitrarily delay an investigation.
4. Discipline Procedures
If the allegations involve criminal conduct on the part of the employee, an independent criminal investigation will be conducted by the Division of Internal Investigation. The findings of these type of investigations are forwarded to either the federal or state prosecutor for consideration of criminal charges.
Illinois State Police (ISP) sworn and civilian employees are covered by a variety of collective bargaining agreements and policies, which govern the disciplinary process.
5. Illinois State Police Merit Board
The Illinois State Police Merit Board exercises jurisdiction over the certification for appointment, promotion, discipline, removal/termination, demotion, and suspension of those appointed as Illinois State Police officers. The Merit Board is comprised of five members appointed by the Governor.
When the Illinois State Police Director files a complaint with the Merit Board requesting discipline exceeding 30-days or discharge from the department, the Merit Board appoints a hearing officer to conduct a public hearing. The hearing officer will listen to testimony and review evidence regarding the specific complaint. The complainant and witnesses may be subpoenaed to testify at such a hearing. The hearing officer will forward the findings to the Merit Board for consideration in its decision which is based on a preponderance of the evidence.
6. Employee Rights
When an Illinois State Police officer is the subject of an investigation which could result in discipline, the officer is afforded certain rights. A copy of the signed complaint is provided to the officer who is the subject of the investigation prior to his/her administrative interview. An officer who receives discipline may appeal the decision.
7. Notification to Complainant
When an investigation into a complaint is opened or declined, the complainant will be notified by a letter sent via the U.S. Mail. Once the investigation is completed, the complainant will be sent an additional letter outlining the findings of the investigation. The letter will not specify the exact nature of the disposition, but will indicate whether the employee’s actions were found to be appropriate, and what, if any, corrective measures were taken based on the investigation.