Citizen Complaint Procedure

It is the policy of the Gig Harbor Police Department to investigate all complaints against the department or its employees. This ensures the integrity of the department while protecting the rights and interests of both citizens and department employees. The department will take complaints in any form, and complaints may be made anonymously. You can also fill out a Citizens Complaint and Employee Recognition Form (PDF) and return it to the Police Department. The following is a brief synopsis of what you may expect to happen.

The Interview               

A police supervisor will interview you about your complaint. The supervisor will ask you about what happened. It is possible that the supervisor may be able to explain the employee’s action(s) to your satisfaction. Normally you will be interviewed at the Gig Harbor Police Department. You may expect to be audio or videotaped during the interview. 

The supervisor will ask you for the names of all witnesses and other police department employees that may know facts about your complaint. It is important to have as much information as possible. Evidence processing may take place as related to your complaint.     

The Investigation            

After the interview, the police department will investigate your complaint. Investigators will be supervisors of the employee or an investigator. All involved employees will be interviewed and witnesses whom you’ve named will be contacted. You may also be asked for more information. 

Although it is impossible to estimate how long the investigation will take, a normal investigation should take no more than 30 days to complete. If you have any questions you may contact our Chief of Police at 253-853-2422.        

The Review                           

Upon completion, those within the employee’s chain of command will review the investigation. Depending on the severity of the complaint and findings, either the employee’s supervisor or the chief of police shall render an appropriate disposition.                    

The Disposition            

After a thorough investigation of the complaint, the supervisor or Chief of  Police will promptly notify you in writing of the disposition and whether disciplinary action will be taken. The results of the completed investigation will be classified into one of the four categories below:

  • Exonerated - The employee(s) involved acted properly and will not be disciplined.  
  • Not Sustained - There was not enough evidence to prove your complaint true of false, so no further action will be taken.    
  • Sustained - Your complaint has been supported. The employee(s) involved acted improperly and may be disciplined.     
  • Unfounded - The investigation revealed no basis to the complaint.      

Your Rights After the Disposition     

The police department will not condone, and will take disciplinary action against those employees who cause harassment, tacit or otherwise, of complainants, witnesses, or any other person connected to any internal  investigation.

Notify the Gig Harbor Police Department immediately if you suspect violation of any of the above. You may ask about the status of your complaint at any time by calling the police department administration office at 253-851-2236 x 2. 

Responsibility - Yours & Ours

The Gig Harbor Police Department views all citizen complaints against its employees very seriously and actively pursues investigation into misconduct. For this reason, you must ensure that your complaint is based on fact and you have provided us with all of the facts to the best of your ability. If you intentionally make a false report to this department, you should know that making a false report could result in criminal and/or civil legal proceedings being filed against you.