Complaint Procedures for Police Employees
Filing a complaint against an Elgin Police Department employee
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is responsible for investigating complaints brought to the attention of the department?
In most cases, the employee’s direct supervisor will conduct a preliminary fact finding investigation through consultation with the person making the complaint. The person making the complaint has the option to complete a Citizen Complaint form; however, completion of this form is not mandatory and the supervisor can complete the form on the person’s behalf. View the Citizen Complaint Form
The nature of the complaint determines the appropriate investigative authority which is described below:
- Pursuant to Elgin City Ordinance, 2.52.165, complaints pertaining to the following incidents are investigated by a law firm retained by the City of Elgin: use of force; breach of civil rights; discrimination; criminal misconduct/law enforcement misconduct; incidents where a police officer or citizen sustain a serious injury or death; or any other formal investigation that may be the basis for filing charges seeking removal, discharge or suspension in excess of three (3) days.
- Complaints that are outside the scope of the above listed incidents are reviewed by the Office of the Chief of Police. The department’s command staff team will assign a sworn supervisor to investigate the complaint. During the investigation of the complaint, the assigned supervisor will report directly to the deputy chief or the appropriate commander.
A new statue was enacted by the State of Illinois on July 1, 2021, which enables the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations whenever the Attorney General’s Office has reasonable cause to believe that a governmental authority or agent of a governmental authority engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct by officers that deprives any person of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution of Illinois, the Attorney General may commence a civil action in the name of the People of the State to obtain appropriate equitable and declaratory relief to eliminate the pattern or practice. Refer to 15 ILCS 205/10 to obtain additional information on these investigations.
Will the department employee know that a complaint has been made against him or her?
The department strives to adhere to State of Illinois Statutory provisions as it pertains to both sworn and non-sworn employees, which are described below:
- Sworn officers are entitled to all rights and privileges afforded to them in the Uniform Peace Officer’s Disciplinary Act, 50 ILCS 725. The act states that “no officer shall be subjected to interrogation without first being informed in writing of the nature of the investigation. The information shall be sufficient as to reasonably apprise the officer of the nature of the investigation.” Officers under investigation are not required to be informed of the name, rank and unit or command of the officer in charge of the investigation. Anyone filing a complaint against a sworn officer is no longer required to sign an affidavit or any other legal documentation in support of the complaint. Collective bargaining agreements entered after July 1, 2021, must comply with the amendments and there is no longer a mandate to report false affidavits to a State’s Attorney.
- Non-sworn employees are entitled to receive a notice of rights and allegations as set forth in the provisions of 65 ILCS 5/10-1-18. The statue states that “Except as hereinafter provided in this Section, no officer or employee in the classified civil service of any municipality who is appointed under the rules and after examination, may be removed or discharged, or suspended for a period of more than 30 days, except for cause upon written charges and after an opportunity to be heard in his own defense. The hearing shall be as hereinafter provided, unless the employer and the labor organization representing the person have negotiated an alternative or supplemental form of due process based upon impartial arbitration as a term of a collective bargaining agreement.”
How long will the investigation take?
The department strives to complete internal investigations in a timely manner. This includes investigations conducted by the law firm hired by the City of Elgin. The nature and complexity of a complaint may require a longer period of time to complete the investigation. The department will make every effort to keep the complainant advised of the progress of the investigation. Once the investigation has concluded, the complainant will be notified.
What if an allegation/complaint turns out to be false?
If a complaint is made on a good faith belief of truth and the department member is exonerated, the investigation will conclude.
What will happen to the department member in question?
If, after a complete investigation, it is determined that the allegation is substantiated, the discipline will be dependent on the seriousness of the infraction. Disciplinary actions may range from an oral reprimand to suspension, or in extreme cases, termination.