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Complaint Process

Riverdale Park Police Department Complaint Policy 
Revised September 29, 2020 

The Riverdale Park Police Department takes seriously all allegations and complaints of misconduct against members of the Department, including allegations of excessive force, discourtesy and poor service. The Department is committed to conducting an objective, fair, thorough, and impartial investigation concerning any allegation of officer misconduct. These investigations are conducted under the specific direction of the Chief of Police. The assigned investigator operates independently of all other sections and divisions and reports findings directly to the Chief of Police. Depending upon the nature and complexity of the investigation, the Chief of Police, at their discretion, may request the investigation be conducted by an outside Maryland Law Enforcement Agency. Proper adherence to the provisions of this policy will facilitate prompt and equitable action, exonerate the innocent, hold officers accountable for their actions, and ensure transparency.

1.    A complaint against a Department member should be made to the Shift Supervisor, on duty Commander, or Chief of Police, or other agency employee if the aforementioned are not available or the complainant does not wish to speak to an officer by either in writing, by telephone (301-927-4343), by coming to the Police Department, or by emailing  

2.  Complaints which are not informally settled, and may result in disciplinary action are referred to the Chief of Police for investigation.  All complaints which allege criminal violations, corruption, excessive force, etc. will also be referred to the Chief of Police.
3.  A thorough investigative report will be completed in accordance with the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights as mandated in Public Safety Article 3-§101 of the Annotated Code of Maryland and, subsequently, will be forwarded to the Chief of Police, who will review the findings and make a determination as to the action taken.

4. The Office of the Chief, or designee, will notify the complainant of the disposition of the investigation and any discipline imposed in accordance with State Law (House Bill 1016).

Complaint Process Information

  • Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the incident. Delays in filing a complaint can seriously hamper an investigation since, as time passes, evidence may be lost, personal memory of the incident may diminish and witnesses may become hard to locate. Note that Maryland law requires that complaints about police brutality and excessive force be filed within 366 days of the incident unless the Chief of Police determines the need for immediate investigation. Excessive force complaints are required to be signed under the penalty of perjury.
  • Complaints are forwarded for investigation at the direction of the Chief of Police.
  • If a crime has been alleged, RPPD contacts the Prince George’s County State's Attorney. The State's Attorney determines if criminal charges should be filed.
  • The investigator assigned to your complaint will contact you. During investigation, statements will be taken from you, from witnesses and from the accused employee. All reasonable leads will be pursued. Investigations are confidential until finalized; no participant—including complainants, witnesses, investigators and employees—will disclose any information about the case until the investigation concludes.
  • There is no time limit for completion of investigation of a complaint as the complexity of the case determines the amount of time to complete the investigation. All investigations are completed as soon as possible. Investigations of police officers are governed by Maryland law, and certain procedures must be followed. The investigator will update the complainant on the status of the case.
  • Upon completion of the investigation, complainants are notified by mail of the outcome of the case. Maryland law does not allow us to share specifics about how an employee is disciplined.

Complaint dispositions are designated as follows:

  • Unfounded
  • Exonerated
  • Sustained
  • Non-Sustained
  • Administrative Closure *

* Complaints will receive an Administrative Closure if the complainant did not want a formal action taken, if the complaint was concerning the interpretation of law or Department procedures and not the officer’s actions, or if the complainant could not be contacted.  Knowingly making a false statement or complaint about police personnel is a serious matter.  Complainants who knowingly make false statements or complaints may be held responsible, criminally or civilly.