Last Updated: 2009-08-20

Commendations and Complaints

Each year, Richmond's police officers and other employees have thousands of contacts with people. In some cases, individuals may question why an incident was handled in a particular way, they may wish to acknowledge the employees involved, or they may disagree with the actions of a department employee.

The Richmond Police Department takes people's concerns seriously. We believe the public is entitled to efficient, fair, and impartial service. We investigate all allegations of employee misconduct, respond to inquiries about employee actions or department policy, and document all commendations received from the public.

Our policy is to forward commendations to officers and their supervisors so that the officer may be recognized. We also thoroughly investigate complaints. If you have a commendation or complaint, you may report it to us in person, by letter, by telephone, or by using the link at the bottom of the page.

The following is information that will help you file a commendation or a complaint with the Richmond Police Department. If you feel strongly about the Department's performance, positively or negatively, let us know.

At the end of this page you can fill out an electronic form to make a complaint or commend a Police Department employee, or you may prefer to phone in a commendation to the Personnel Unit at (804)646-6733 or a complaint to the Internal Affairs Team at (804)646-6816. Both offices are open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and are located at 200 W. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23220.

Pre-printed forms can also be picked up at the following locations:

How to Commend a Police Employee

Everyone likes a pat on the back when they do a good job. Richmond Police employees are no different. Each year, the Department receives thousands of employee commendations from the public.

When you receive service from our Department that you feel is worthy of a commendation, we would like to hear about it. Please include all the information you can remember such as the employee's name, the date, time, and circumstances of the outstanding service. The employee will be notified of your commendation as will his supervisors, and a copy will also be placed in his/her employee file.

The Complaint Process

The Richmond Police Department values the feedback it receives from the community and is dedicated to providing the best police service possible to all of Richmond's citizens. Your police officers are carefully selected and given the best training. Information provided by citizens like you helps us with this mission.

We formally investigate allegations and inquiries for these reasons

  1. To protect citizens from actual misconduct by an employee;
  2. To protect the department and those employees who conduct themselves appropriately;
  3. To identify policies and procedures that may need review or change, and to find ways to improve the quality of our service to the community.

If you choose to make a complaint, we will follow a formal process to ensure that your complaint is thoroughly investigated. When you file a complaint, you will be asked for your name, address, a telephone number where you can be reached, and the details of your complaint, including date, time, location, and name of the involved employee(s), if known. If you mail your complaint to us, use the attached form to provide this information.

When we receive your complaint, the Internal Affairs Team will send a letter to inform you that your complaint has been received and assigned for investigation.

The assigned supervisor will conduct a thorough investigation. He will interview the employee involved and any witnesses. The investigating supervisor may contact you for additional details or to clarify the information you have already provided. If it becomes necessary for you to contact the investigating supervisor, you may do so by calling him directly or by calling Internal Affairs Team. Normally, the investigation will be completed within 30 days of the time we receive the complaint. If not, you will be notified. The employee's supervisors will make a decision about the complaint based on the facts available. The decision will be one of four findings:

  • Substantiated - The employee acted improperly.
  • Not Substantiated - The complaint can be neither proved nor disproved.
  • Unfounded - The available evidence does not support the complaint.
  • Justified - The officer's actions were proper.

If an allegation is sustained, appropriate action will be taken. The action may involve counseling, verbal or written reprimand, suspension from duty, or termination. The supervisor will call to inform you of the findings and you will receive a follow-up letter.

However, in accordance with the law and out of respect for employees' privacy, we do not release what specific discipline was imposed on the employee.

Things to Know

The Department routinely checks the police records of the people with whom we have contact, including people who file complaints. If a police officer has contact with you and is aware of a warrant, he is legally compelled to arrest you. However, we do not want this to prevent you from giving us feedback. If you have an outstanding warrant, please clear it with the Court.

If you are an undocumented resident, we will not report you to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) unless you have been convicted of certain criminal offenses. It is not our job, as city police, to detect or apprehend people who may be in the country or working illegally. We want to hear from all community members.

Tell Us About It

If you wish to commend someone for the service you have received from the Richmond Police Department or file a complaint click a link below.

Contact Information:

Richmond Police Dept.
City of Richmond
Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency or to file a Police Report: (804) 646-5100
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