UCPD Launches New Online Citizen Feedback Form
The UCPD's new online citizen feedback form makes it easier to submit commendations and concerns.
The University of Cincinnati Police Division recently released a new Citizen Feedback form in order to make it easier for a citizen to submit a commendation or a complaint.
While making improvements to the division, administration found that the feedback forms were not as accessible as they could be, said Lt. Col. Maris Herold. With that in mind, the Public Safety Department added a Citizen Feedback page
to the website. In addition, forms are available in strategic locations across campus, such as Langsam Library, Steger Student Life Center and Edwards Three, and with police officers. Citizens can also give a commendation or complaint by email, phone or in person.
“It allows us, the leadership, to get a perspective on how citizens see our officers, the things we do that we can improve on and the things we’re doing well,” said Chief Anthony Carter.
Any member of the division can take a complaint or commendation, and citizens can remain anonymous. All division employees are being trained on procedures and processes for feedback, Herold said.
When a citizen submits a commendation, it is reviewed and noted in the police officer’s file, as with a complaint. In addition, the division leadership will give the officer the appropriate level of acknowledgement, Carter said.
When a citizen makes a complaint, the review process will be completed within 30 days, unless there are extenuating circumstances. All complaints are reviewed by Herold. The supervisor assigned to that complaint would contact the citizen and, if the complaint is regarding a discourtesy or procedure violation, ask if the citizen would like to participate in the Conflict Facilitation Process.
The process, which is new to the department, allows the citizen and the officer to sit down in a neutral setting with a facilitator. Other departments that utilize the tool find that citizens walk away with a better understanding of a police officer’s role and the officer walks away with a better understanding of the citizen’s concern, Herold said.
Even if the citizen opts to participate in the Conflict Facilitation Process, there will still be an investigation into the complaint that will end with a finding.
If the complaint is about serious misconduct it will either be investigated by the Standards and Strategic Development Section of the UCPD or by a third party or judicial system, depending on the severity of the complaint. In cases such as this, the investigation would likely take longer than 30 days.
When the investigation is complete, the UCPD will provide the citizen with a deposition on their complaint.
This move by the division is about accountability and trust, Herold said.
She added, “It speaks volumes about our efforts to be more transparent.”
In addition, the feedback helps guide the division in their training and it can act as an early warning system. Both Herold and Carter see all the complaints.