Everybody appreciates recognition for a job well done. If a Police Department employee goes out of their way or does something special and you would like for them to be recognized, the best way is to submit something in writing to the Chief of Police. In the note or letter, be sure to mention the officer's name (if you know it), the date and time of the event, any witnesses, and a brief description of what happened. Mail your commendation to:
Chief of Police James Smith
Lawton Police Department
#10 SW 4th Street
Lawton, OK 73501
Your original correspondence will be photocopied so that the original can be given to the employee and a copy can be placed in their permanent personnel file. The circumstances of the event may be sufficient to warrant the officer being nominated for Officer of the Quarter based on the merits that you are able to provide. If you do not have the time to write a note, a phone call to the Watch Commander will result in a form being completed and submitted in a similar fashion as that described for original correspondence. Either way, your comments provide valuable feedback that can make someone's day.
The Lawton Police Department is very proud of its professional officers, but even the best occasionally use poor judgment. If you feel that a Police Department employee has not treated you properly, there are procedures for filing a complaint. Complaints can be filed by written correspondence, by telephone, or by reporting directly to a Police supervisor.
Some issues cannot be resolved as a result of a complaint being filed. For instance, if you received a traffic ticket and did not feel that you deserved being cited, the proper forum to contest the citation is in the court. Supervisors are not able to dismiss tickets. A citation is a numbered document and must be accounted for when an audit is conducted each year. The only individuals that can dismiss a citation is the judge or the prosecutor. Whether you received a citation or not, if you feel that an officer mistreated you, the most expedient method of resolving your complaint is to contact that officer's immediate supervisor.
The immediate supervisor will complete a complaint form based on the information that you provide. The supervisor will ordinarily be able to tell you if you have a complaint that has investigative merit. For example, if you didn't like the way the officer got out of his car, your complaint will not be investigated. If you felt that the officer used rude or profane language, you may have a complaint. If the supervisor advises you that the complaint will be investigated, he will also advise you that you need to bring in a signed, notarized statement that includes the facts of the allegation. An investigation will include the questioning of the officer(s) named in the complaint. If there are major discrepancies in your statement and that of the officer(s), you may be asked to take a polygraph test to validate your claim. This is to protect the officers from unreasonable and/or untrue allegations. Many of the complaints originate because of ulterior motives such as the complainant, a family member, or a friend has just been put in jail or received a citation. If a complaint obviously has no merit and is intended solely to cause anxiety for the officer, civil proceedings may be filed against the complainant. This is not intended to discourage anyone from filing a legitimate complaint. If the complaint is investigated and substantiated, corrective action will be taken against the officer.
In any case, the complainant will be advised by the supervisor as to the disposition of the complaint. If an officer is accused of committing a criminal violation, the complaint will normally be investigated by the Professional Standards Officer who works out of the Chief's Office for internal affairs investigations. If the complaint is based on an incident that occurred when the officer was off- duty, working security for a business, or because of civil dispute, you will be advised who to contact to file a complaint. In most cases, the Police Department does not investigate these types of complaints and confines official inquiries to administrative or criminal investigations. For any type of complaint to be properly investigated, critical information will expedite the proceedings: This information includes:
1. Name of the Officer - if you don't have the name, the police unit number will be helpful
2. Time of occurrence
3. Location of occurrence
4. Names and addresses of witnesses - they will normally be asked to provide statements as well
5. Exact nature of the event that initiated the complaint
You may also download a copy of the Lawton Police Department Complaint Form and mail it to the Chief of Police at the address listed above. Please complete the form as accurately and as completely you can. Also, make sure you sign the complaint and have it notarized prior to mailing the form in. If you prefer, you may also personally bring the complaint form to the police station and turn it in.