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Bureau of Professional Standards

The function of the Bureau of Professional Standards is to ensure the integrity of the Worcester Police Department and its personnel, both sworn and non-sworn.

It is the goal of the Citizen Complaint Procedure that the rights of all citizens be protected and that police officers be free to exercise their best judgment and to initiate action in a reasonable, lawful, impartial manner, without fear of reprisal. A proper relationship between police and the citizens of Worcester, fostered by trust and confidence, is essential to law enforcement.

This system of complaint and disciplinary procedures not only subjects officers to corrective action when behaving improperly, but also protects them from unwarranted criticism when discharging their duties properly.

Who May Complain And How

Any person who believes that they have knowledge of police corruption or misconduct is encouraged to use the Worcester Police Department Citizen Complaint Procedure.

A complaint may be made online through our WPD Citizen Comment form, or by contacting the police department either in person or by phone. The official-in-charge will be notified of the complaint, which will be forwarded to the Chief of Police or his designee who is responsible for internal investigations. Written complaints may also be mailed directly to the Bureau of Professional Standards, or to the Chief of Police. Every complaint, regardless of its nature, is assigned for investigation. Whenever possible, minor breaches of regulations are assigned to the commanding officer of the accused officer's unit. Hard copies of the WPD Citizen Comment Form (130KB) are also available online for the public.

What Should Be Reported

Police behavior that should be subject to citizen complaints includes, but is not limited to:

Corruption such as:

  • Theft
  • Bribery
  • Acceptance of Gratuities, etc.
  • Other possible criminal acts.

Misconduct such as:

  • Physical/Verbal Abuse
  • Unlawful Arrest
  • Harassment

Investigation And Disposition

These complaints are thoroughly investigated and then a report is prepared, which includes information contained in the statements from the complainant, the accused, and any witnesses.

The completed investigative report also includes a narrative summary of the events and a finding of facts as determined by the evidence, including the statements of those involved. The report is then given to the Chief of Police to review for completeness, objectivity and evaluation. If the Chief of Police has reason to believe that there was misconduct or corruption on the part of the employee, the Chief shall take whatever action necessary.

The disposition of the complaints are classified as follows:

  1. Unfounded/Resolved at Intake - The investigation indicates that the act or acts complained of did not occur, or they did not involve police department personnel.
  2. Exonerated - An incident did occur, but the actions of the officer were justified, lawful and proper.
  3. Not Sustained - The investigation fails to discover sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegations made in the complaint.
  4. Sustained - The investigation discloses sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegations made in the complaint.
  5. Sustained Other - The investigation discloses sufficient evidence to clearly prove that the officer committed a violation other than the one named in the complaint.
  6. Policy Failure - The allegation is true, but the P.O. was acting in a manner consistent with policy, which indicates a policy revision is required.
  7. Exceptionally Cleared - The investigation discloses a factor external to the investigatory process, such as the complainants' refusal to provide essential information, or failure otherwise to cooperate with the investigation, results in the inability to properly conduct and complete the investigation.

In all cases, the officer(s) as well as the complainant(s) are notified of the disposition. Contact us at (508) 799-8694 with any questions or for more information.

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