Commendations and Complaints
The Boulder Police Department carefully investigates all complaints relating to police service and police misconduct.
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The Boulder Police Department investigates allegations of misconduct against any of its employees. Complaints of misconduct are classified as either Allegations of Serious Misconduct or Allegations of Misconduct. Allegations of Serious Misconduct, such as excessive force, abuse of authority, or criminal violations, are normally investigated by the Professional Standards Unit, and are referred to as PSU investigations. Allegations of Misconduct, such as discourtesy, minor violations of policy, or performance issues, are normally investigated by the employee's supervisor Supervisor Investigations (SI).
The Independent Police Monitor (IPM), a professional civilian monitor, categorizes the allegations within each complaint, prior to assignment for investigation, and may observe officer, complainant, and witness interviews. The IPM will have access to relevant case files and may make recommendations for additional investigation as well as disposition and disciplinary recommendations to the Chief of Police.
Once a PSU or SI investigation is completed, each supervisor in the employee's chain of command, to include a Deputy Chief, reviews the case and makes a recommendation for disposition and discipline. The case may then be reviewed by the Police Oversight Panel (POP), a panel of Community Members selected to increase community involvement in police oversight. The POP may provide case disposition and disciplinary recommendations to the Chief of Police. The panel is also authorized to provide policy and training recommendations to the department. After considering all of the input received, the Chief of Police makes the final decision on the disposition of the complaint, to include discipline, if the complaint is sustained.
After the investigation, reviews, and recommendations have been completed, a disposition is made. There are six possible dispositions in a Professional Standards Investigation at the Boulder Police Department, with the following explanations:
|Exonerated||The incident occurred as reported, but department member actions were justified, lawful, and proper|
|Unfounded||The complainant admits to false allegation; the charges were found to be false; the department member was not involved; or the complainant has voluntarily withdrawn the complaint prior to the conclusion of an investigation, and the department elects not to continue the investigation|
|Not Sustained||An allegation is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence|
|Sustained||An allegation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence|
|No Finding||Cases when a subject department member resigns and the department elects not to continue the investigation|
If you are fearful or hesitant about filing a complaint, you may have a representative, friend, or other community member contact the police department on your behalf.
The issue of racial profiling in policing is one of national concern. It undermines the public trust, creates fear, and violates fundamental principles of a just society. The Boulder Police Department subscribes to a policy that prohibits police actions that are based solely on reasons of race, ethnicity, gender, manner of dress, or other subjective criteria (the practice commonly referred to as "profiling").
A process is available to assist people who have questions about a police contact or who believe they have been "profiled" by police. You may contact the Professional Standards Unit directly at (303) 441-3312.
Some people who have been stopped or questioned by the police may not be comfortable contacting the police department themselves or may have questions about human rights or civil rights. In that case, you may also contact the City’s Community Relations and Office of Human Rights or the City Manager's Office for assistance. They can provide referrals to community organizations for assistance to support you, Spanish language translation or mediation. The Community Relations and Office of Human Rights number is (303) 441-3141 and the number to the City Managers Office is 303-441-3090.