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Chapel Hill Police Department complaints and complaint process

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Chapel Hill Police Department complaints

While the numbers of complaints and the findings are public record, the details and nature of the complaints and investigations are not; nor are the disciplinary actions levied against the officers.

Here are what the terms mean:

Exonerated—Officer acted appropriately.
Unfounded—False.
Substantiated—Sufficient evidence.
Unsubstantiated—Insufficient evidence.
Administratively closed—Withdrawn by complainant or the officer leaves the force during the investigation.

2008

Total: 34 complaints.

Exonerated 18

Unfounded 10

Substantiated 3

Unsubstantiated 0

Administratively closed 2

Withdrawn 1

Pending 0

2009

Total: 33 complaints.

Exonerated 14

Unfounded 5

Substantiated 2

Unsubstantiated 4

Administratively closed 4

Withdrawn 1

Pending 3

Source: Chapel Hill Police Department

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Chapel Hill Police complaint process

Chapel Hill doesn't have a civilian police review board. Instead, complaints against police are handled internally; there is no official external board to review complaints or the investigation.

  1. If you have a complaint against a police officer, call 968-2767 or go to the station at 828 Martin Luther King Blvd., and ask to speak with an on-duty supervisor.

  2. The supervisor takes the complaint and asks you to fill out a Citizen Complaint/Inquiry Form, including your contact information and a description of what occurred.

  3. The form then goes to Lt. Kevin Gunter, the department's professional standards officer. He determines if it's a Type 1 complaint (excessive force, improper arrest, illegal search or violation of criminal law) or a Type 2 complaint (discourteous language, poor performance, improper demeanor) and assigns to be investigated within the police department.

  4. The investigation, usually conducted by a direct supervisor or command-level officer, includes interviewing the involved parties. In some cases, officers can be asked to take polygraph tests, participate in police line-ups and undergo blood or urine analysis. Type 2 complaints typically take a month to investigate. Type 1 complaints don't have a time frame.

  5. Once completed, the report returns to Gunter. He can recommend the complaint be sustained, not sustained, exonerated, unfounded or administratively closed.

  6. Police Chief Brian Curran determines the sanction for Type 1 offenses. He reviews recommendations for penalties involving Type 2 offenses. He notifies the involved employee and the complainant in writing.

Source: Chapel Hill Police Department

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