KCPD: A well-established process is in place to address community complaints about officers

Jim Cunningham
September 25, 2018 - 7:52 am

Kansas City Police Department

The Kansas City Police Department says it has systems in place for citizens to file formal complaints about officers, and to address situations in which concerns are not resolved.

The first step is to fill out a form at the nearest patrol station. If the person filing the complaint is not satisfied, they can address it with the Office of Community Complaints. The agency investigates and makes recommendations to the police board and police chief on allegations of misconduct by members of the department.  

"We look at incidents of bias-based policing, harassment, discourtesy, excessive use of force, improper member conduct and improper procedure," said Merrell Bennekin, executive director.

The Office of Community Complaints receives about 300 to 400 reports each year. Every report is reviewed Bennekin said. Fewer than 10 percent of reports result in a violation of policy or procedure.

"Every complaint has value in that regard, so we tend to try to extract any type of usable data to report back to the department and to the police board, so that we can make sure that the reason the complain came about in the first place doesn't happen again," Bennekin said. 

Bennekin says it can take about two months or longer to review each complaint, depending on complexity. Kansas City's Office of Community Complaints has been around since 1969. It is the longest-running civilian oversight agency in the country.

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