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Office of the Chief - Internal Affairs Division

Frequently Asked Questions

How are cases reviewed for completeness?

All cases are reviewed by the Director of the Internal Affairs Division. Once reviewed by the Director, a complaint will be classified as either a formal complaint or an intake/inquiry.

How are cases evaluated?

Once a formal complaint has been investigated and reviewed, it is given one of five classifications. The classification given is known as the finding(s):

  • Unfounded: Based on the facts of the investigation, the act (s) did not occur.
  • Exonerated: Actions of the involved officer (s) were justified, lawful and proper.
  • Insufficient evidence: There was not enough evidence to prove or disprove the allegation (s).
  • Sustained: Sufficient evidence to prove the allegations of misconduct.
  • Policy Failure: Omissions or insufficient/ineffective policy to address the allegation (s). If this is the finding, recommendations will be made to create and/or adjust policy.

What is the difference between an Intake/Inquiry and a formal complaint?

  • Intake/Inquiry: Investigation of a minor rule violation that, if sustained, would not result in discipline. The director of the Internal Affairs Division may determine that a complaint is appropriately handled by being classified as an Intake/Inquiry.
  • Formal Complaint: Investigation into allegations of administrative misconduct by employees of the department that, if true, would or could result in disciplinary action.

Do complaints alleging the use of excessive force by officers need to be sworn to and notarized?

No.  Under Maryland law, a complaint against a police officer alleging the use of excessive force must be signed and sworn to under penalty of perjury and received by the Department within 366 days of incident.

Who reviews the cases after the investigation is complete?

All complaint investigations, whether intake/inquiry or formal, are reviewed by the deputy director of IAD as well as the director of IAD.  If a complaint is classified as sustained or if the Director of IAD and the officer’s Commander/Director disagree as to how the complaint is to be classified, the cases are reviewed by the Internal Investigative Review Panel, to include the four Assistant Chiefs, the Director of IAD, and the Commander/Director of the involved employee (s).

How is the complainant involved notified?

The complainant is notified in writing with the results of the investigation.

Will my complaint have any impact on any charges placed against me by the police?

No.  Initiating an internal affairs complaint will not make your charges go away. Only the courts and the State’s Attorneys Office can resolve any charges placed against you by the police.

What happens at the conclusion of an investigation?

If the investigation fails to sustain any misconduct, you will receive a letter from the Director of the Internal Affairs Division advising you of the outcome.  If misconduct is established, a disciplinary recommendation will be offered to the employee.  If the employee accepts that recommendation the matter will be concluded.  Should the  employee decline the offer, the matter will follow established procedures.  In the case of a civilian employee, a grievance process is implemented.  In those cases involving police officers, an administrative hearing will be convened and testimony will be taken under oath.  As a complainant you may be called to testify.  In all cases, the complainant will be notified of the investigative results.

Will I be informed of any disciplinary action taken?

Under Maryland State Law,you will be informed of any disciplinary action taken at the conclusion of the investigation / appeals/grievance process.

Montgomery County Department of Police · J. Thomas Manger, Chief
Public Safety Headquarters
100 Edison Park Drive · Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Non-emergency: 301.279.8000
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