The Gaithersburg Police Department strives to provide you with the best possible law enforcement and community services. We also believe there is always room for us to improve the level and quality of our service, and we welcome input from members of the public.
Police officers are trained to make their decisions and take action based upon information known to them at the time, laws of the local, state and federal governments, and rulings that have been made by the courts. Some of these factors may not be immediately apparent to you or to bystanders at the particular moment of an incident. In most cases, there are legal or procedural explanations for the actions taken by the department and our employees. However, situations do arise where errors and omissions occur. We want to know about these things and about service that you believe to be substandard, as well as any incidents in which the misconduct of our personnel occurs or is perceived to have occurred.
The Gaithersburg Police Department investigates all citizen complaints made against the Department or any of its members in a fair, thorough and impartial manner in accordance with the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.
Because we believe strongly in our mission and are committed to providing you the highest level and quality of service, we are providing you with information concerning our complaint process and how to make your feedback become the basis for positive change.
Under authorization of HB 1016, the 2016 Maryland Legislature tasked the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (MPTSC) with developing a uniform citizen complaint process to be adopted by all Maryland police agencies.
In January 2019, the MPTSC adopted the following requirements that have been adopted into the Gaithersburg Police Department’s Uniform Citizen Complaint Process:
- The Gaithersburg Police Department has a citizen complaint process which is articulated in General Order 209.1 Internal Affairs.
- Citizens may make complaints against officers in person, by telephone, or via email.
- Citizens making complaints shall be required to provide a name, mailing address, and phone number or email if they wish to receive notification.
- In-person and telephone complaints will be handled by the officer in-charge at the time the complaint is lodged.Complaints will be handled in a neutral manner with no attempts to influence the complainant in a negative manner.
- Email complaints will be directed to Lt. Chris Vance at email@example.com.
- Citizens should receive an initial response to their complaint within 72-hours.
- In the event of an investigation, citizens will receive updates to their complaint a minimum of one time per month until the complaint is resolved.
- The Gaithersburg Police Department will notify the complainant of the outcome of the complaint within 72-hours of a disposition, including any discipline imposed in accordance with established confidentiality policies and any applicable law.
- The process for filing citizen complaints and a time frame for outcomes will be posted in a public area of the Gaithersburg Police Department, on the Gaithersburg Police Department website, and are listed below.
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 and filed within 366 days after the alleged brutality, by:
- the aggrieved individual;
- a member of the aggrieved individual’s immediate family;
- an individual with firsthand knowledge obtained because the individual:
- was present at and observed the alleged incident; or
- has a video recording of the incident that, to the best of the individual’s knowledge, is unaltered; or
- the parent or guardian of the minor child.
When writing your complaint, please be as specific as possible regarding dates, times, places, the identity (if known) of those involved, any witnesses, and what the department or employee did, or failed to do, that is the basis for your complaint. This information will contribute significantly to a thorough review of the incident.
All formal complaints are forwarded to the Chief of Police without unnecessary delay, and the Chief of Police will begin an inquiry.
You will be informed, by the most practical means available, that your complaint has been received within 72-hours of submission, the status of the investigation and who is conducting it, and whether additional information will be required from you.
Additionally, you will be informed at the conclusion of the inquiry of the final disposition and any discipline imposed as a result of the complaint.
If you do not wish to file a “formal complaint” but would like to express your concern to a supervisor, please make that known. Our supervisors are trained to handle complaints and inquiries of this nature and have the authority to resolve them in most instances. You do not waive the option of making a formal complaint by speaking to a supervisor. If you are not satisfied by your communication with the supervisor, you may proceed to file a complaint in the manner outlined previously.
Just as we want to hear how we may serve you better, we are always happy to hear about your positive experiences as well. If you believe that we have provided extraordinary service, or performed above and beyond the call of duty, a letter or email from you would be of great encouragement.
If you wish to file a complaint, you may do so by letter, e-mail, or using a complaint form. Complaint forms are available online and in the Gaithersburg Police Department lobby area.
You can email the completed Complaint Forms to firstname.lastname@example.org; or you may call the Gaithersburg Police Station for more information. If you wish to submit the complaint in person, you may do so at the Gaithersburg Police Station, located at 14 Fulks Corner Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877 between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.