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Citizen Complaint Procedures

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department's goal is to improve the quality of services provided, to promote a high level of public confidence, and to enhance and maintain the professional integrity of this department and its members. That is, the UPPD and its members will perform their duties within the boundaries of established contemporary legal and ethical standards. The department has established and promoted these standards through clear, written policy statements and rules and regulations, and through the thorough and impartial investigation of all allegations of misconduct or complaints regarding the directives of the department.

A formal procedure to receive, document, and investigate all citizen complaints allows the department to monitor and enforce standards, and is the administrative statement that behavior deviating from these adopted standards will not be tolerated. With a meaningful and effective procedure for handling citizen complaints, we believe citizen confidence in the integrity of the department and its employees will be achieved and maintained.

It is the policy of the department to accept, document, review, and investigate all instances of alleged misconduct, to include complaints regarding the directives or procedures of the department, and to equitably determine whether the allegations are valid or invalid and to take appropriate action. All allegations of misconduct will be investigated, regardless of whether initiated by citizen complaint, other external agencies, internally generated, or discovered through the internal review and administrative processes of the department.

It should be understood that the department expects and receives the highest degree of integrity from its members, and accordingly presumes, unless evidence is discovered to the contrary, that all employee actions are performed in good faith.

-- University of Pennsylvania Police Department

Procedures for Filing Complaints Against Police

1. All citizen complaints pertaining to departmental policies or procedures, or that allege officer misconduct, shall be documented and investigated by the department. Citizens who have complaints should expect action. All complaints shall be accepted in a courteous, understanding, and professional manner.

a. Complaints may be given in person, over the telephone, or in writing.

b. From the UPPD website,, citizens may complete a "Citizen Complaint Form." This form must either be hand delivered to the UPPD Headquarters Building located at 4040 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, or may be mailed to the Office of the Chief of Police at the same address. Forms will also be available at the UPPD Headquarters Building as well as various campus resource centers.

c. Anonymous complaints, or complaints from citizens who wish their names to be held in confidence, shall be accepted for investigation. Citizens offering anonymous complaints are advised that our ability to investigate the complaint may be limited by their anonymity.

d. Upon receipt of a citizen complaint, the Office of the Chief of Police shall contact the citizen and advise him/her that the matter is under investigation. If necessary, the citizen shall also receive periodic status reports regarding the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the citizen will receive written notice of the final disposition of the case from the Office of the Chief of Police.

e. Citizens whose complaints have been investigated by the UPPD who are unsatisfied with the results may contact the Office of the Vice President for Public Safety at (215) 898-7515. Students, staff and/or faculty may additionally contact the Office of the Ombudsman at (215) 898-8261, or other appropriate center(s) (i.e. Penn Women's Center, LGBT Center, Albert E. Greenfield Intercultural Center, etc.)

Questions regarding the UPPD Citizen Complaint Process may be directed to the Office of the Chief of Police, (215) 898-4483.

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 25, March 5, 2002


March 5, 2002
Volume 48 Number 25

Rising health care costs and Penn's health care benefits compared to others in Philadelphia and nationally.
The Lee Center for Criminology will create a computerized offender tracking system to help law enforcement.
Penn Police has a procedure for filing complaints against police but the UA recommends the creation of a Community Review Board.
What's in a name? The new prek-8 school wants input.
ISC Networking and Telecommunications service and rate changes go into effect July including the elimination of the Express Modem Pool.