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 are normally investigated by the Professional Standards Unit. Allegations of Misconduct are normally investigated by the employee's supervisor. Allegations of minor misconduct may be investigated by the employee's supervisor and are referred to as a Supervisory Review. In such cases, the supervisor makes disposition recommendations to the Deputy Chief of Police. Allegations of serious misconduct, such as excessive force, abuse of authority, or criminal violations, are investigated by the department's Professional Standards Unit. Investigations of serious misconduct are referred to as Internal Affairs (IA) Investigations.
Once an IA investigation is completed, each supervisor in the employee's chain of command reviews the case and makes a recommendation for disposition. The case is also reviewed by the IA Review Panel, which consists of both department and community members. The panel ensures that the investigative process was fair and complete, and provides a recommendation on the disposition of the case to the Chief of Police. After considering all of the input received, the Chief of Police makes the final decision on the disposition of the complaint.
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the charges were found to be false; the department member was not involved; or the complainant has voluntarily withdrawn the complaint prior to the conclusion of an investigation, and the department elects not to continue the investigation|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.