The Lakeland Police Department is concerned about the level of police service provided to the community by our members.
There will be times when citizens observe police conduct that they feel needs further explanation. Citizens must be able to bring their legitimate concerns regarding police actions to the attention of the department for review. Our supervisors are happy to discuss your concerns and explain a member's actions in a given situation.
It is the responsibility of the Police Department to address all complaints and differentiate between false complaints and legitimate concerns.
A complaint may be filed by a citizen, criminal defendant, or any member of the department. Anonymous complaints are accepted with the understanding that a follow up investigation is more difficult when the complainant is unknown. Complaints may be registered at the Police Department or City Hall with City Commissioners or other authorized individuals. Complainants are asked to complete a complaint form that includes a sworn statement of the facts known to the person at the time the complaint was made.
Once received all complaints are forwarded to Internal Affairs for review. Whenever possible, minor allegations are assigned to the member's supervisor for investigation.
Complaints of a more serious nature are forwarded to the Chief of Police to initiate a formal Internal Affairs investigation.
Link to download the Citizen Complaint Form
Once a complaint has been received, the investigation begins. This includes sworn statements from all witnesses and the collection of evidence. Investigations are conducted under the stringent guidelines of the Florida Police Officers' Bill of Rights, Florida Statute 112.531-535.
Those who have filed a complaint are notified by Internal Affairs, via registered mail, of the final disposition of the complaint.
The disposition of a complaint is classified as follows:
Sustained - Allegation is supported by sufficient evidence.
Not Sustained - Not guilty by insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.
Exonerated - Incident occurred but the member acted lawfully and/or properly.
Unfounded - Incident did not occur or employee was not involved.
Policy Failure - The allegation is true, but the investigation reveals policy or procedural changes are necessary.
There are several types of corrective actions which can be recommended for a sustained complaint.