Citizen Uniform Complaint Process PSA 3-207(F)
The mission of the Sheriff’s Office is to provide professional law enforcement services to the citizens of Washington County. In order to fulfill that mission, the community must trust in the department’s ability and commitment to maintain the highest level of integrity. To that end, the department will investigate all complaints and allegations of misconduct, and malfeasance or misfeasance of duty, regardless of the source.
- Citizens may make a complaint in person, by telephone, via email or by U.S. mail.
- Citizens making a complaint are required to provide a name, mailing address and phone number or email if they wish to receive notifications.
- All citizen complaints, whether in person or by telephone will be taken by the duty officer or shift commander for initial documentation. Should the complaint be against the duty officer or shift commander, referral will be made to the division commander or higher authority. The duty officer may be reached at 240-313-2170. The division commander may be reached at 240-313-2165.
- Citizen complaints can be taken by any agency employee if the complainant does not want to speak to a police officer, or if a sworn member of this agency is unavailable.
- No member of this agency will attempt to influence the complainant in any manner.
- Citizens requesting to file a complaint by email will be directed to send those complaints to [email protected]
- Major Pete Lazich will be to the point of contact for complainants to direct questions concerning the investigation. Major Lazich can be reached at 240-313-2165 or by email at [email protected]shco-md.net
- Once the complaint is filed, a Complaint Against Personnel Form will be completed. Complainants should receive an initial response to their complaint within 72 hours.
- The Captain of Investigative Services will review the complaint, decide if further investigation is necessary and if so, make assignment and forward the complaint to the Chief Deputy, who will log the complaint.
- Citizens registering complaints resulting in investigations will be asked to come to the department for a taped, transcribed, and signed statement. A refusal to do so, however, will not, in and of itself, terminate the investigation.
- Citizens registering complaints against the department or personnel will be periodically informed concerning the status of the investigation. Until the administrative investigation is resolved, the agency shall attempt to contact the complainant at least monthly to provide an update. The sheriff’s office will document each attempt to contact the complainant.
- The sheriff’s office will notify the complainant the outcome of the complaint within 72 hours of a disposition, including any discipline imposed in accordance with established confidentially policies and applicable law.
- The process for filing complaints and a time-frame for the outcomes are posted at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division.
- A complaint against a law enforcement officer that alleges brutality in the execution of the law enforcement officer’s duties may not be investigated unless the complaint is signed and sworn to, under penalty of perjury, by:
(I) the aggrieved individual;
(ii) a member of the aggrieved individual’s immediate family;
(iii) an individual with firsthand knowledge obtained because the individual:
1. was present at and observed the alleged incident; or
2. Has a video recording of the incident that, to the best of the individual’s knowledge, is unaltered; or
(iv) the parent or guardian of the minor child, if the alleged incident involves a minor child.
(2) Unless a complaint is filed within 366 days after the alleged brutality, an investigation that may lead to disciplinary action under this subtitle for brutality may not be initiated and an action may not be taken.