How to file a complaint against a law enforcement officer in Florida?



Filing a complaint against a law enforcement officer in Florida involves several steps. Here’s a general process:

  1. Document the Incident: Write down everything about the incident as soon as possible. This includes the date, time, location, names and badge numbers of the officers involved, and any other relevant details. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information as well.
  2. File a Complaint with the Relevant Department: Depending on the department the officer is from, you may be able to file a complaint online, in person, by mail, or by phone. For example, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has an online complaint comment form. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office allows complaints to be filed in person, by mail, or by phone. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department allows complaints to be submitted in person, by email, or by phone. The Orlando Police Department also has an online form for complaints.
  3. Complete a Complaint Form: You’ll typically need to complete a complaint form detailing the incident. This form may be available online or at the department’s office. For example, the FDLE has a complaint form available on its website. The Orlando Police Department also has an online complaint form.
  4. Submit the Complaint: Once you’ve completed the form, submit it to the relevant department. Keep a copy of everything you submit for your records.
  5. Follow-up: After you’ve submitted your complaint, the department will typically conduct an investigation. The length and nature of this investigation can vary. You should be informed of the findings of the investigation.

The process can vary depending on the specific department the officer is from. Some departments may have specific procedures for filing complaints. If you feel uncomfortable filing a complaint directly with the department, you may want to consult with a lawyer or a local advocacy group.

Please be aware that Florida law provides certain protections to officers under investigation. For example, the officer under investigation has the right to review the complaint and all evidence related to the investigation. The officer also has the right to choose one member of the Complaint Review Board, which reviews the complaint.

If you believe the misconduct is severe, you may also want to consider filing a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics. However, this commission cannot intervene in criminal cases or give legal advice, and it does not have jurisdiction over complaints against judges or the actions of government agencies.

Remember, it’s necessary to consult with a legal professional if you’re unsure about any part of this process. They can provide guidance and help protect your rights.

Further Knowledge

For more information on this topic, you can visit the following resources:

About the author