As a local citizen un-affiliated with the Baltimore City Police Department or any office of the Baltimore City government I would like to provide a few tips on some options to file a complaint against a Baltimore City Police Officer. I know of the 3 avenues of which to initiate a complaint. I would like to describe the pros and cons of each one.
1) Filing your complaint directly with the Baltimore City Police Department
2) Filing your complaint through your Baltimore City Council Representative
3) Filing your complaint through the Baltimore City Mayor's Office
The pros and cons of filing your complaint through the Baltimore City Police Department
One is free to call, email or visit the police location of your choice mentioned in this information about complaints from the Baltimore Police Department. However, I must forewarn you. Asking the Baltimore City Police Department to investigate the Baltimore City Police Department is a giant waste of the effort you put in to file the complaint. There is a big chance your complaint will go nowhere. The police are in the business of furthering the best interests of the police and not your specific concerns regardless of whether you vote, pay taxes and are local pillar of the community here in Baltimore City. The Baltimore City Police Department doesn't care about you.
The pros and cons of filing your complaint with your City Council Representative
This step only works if you live within the boundaries of Baltimore City. It helps a great deal if you have voted in the last city election and it helps even more if you are a registered Democrat. There are couple steps in the process of filing a complaint with your City Council Representative. First you must find out which city council district in which you reside using this map.
Then I suggest going to this page which lists the contact information for the council member in each district and obtaining the email and the phone number for your associated council representative.
You have two choices. You can either email your city councilperson with a short description about what happened and that you want to file a complaint or you can call your city council office and talk to your council person's assistant. The city council tends to meet on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5PM. The chances of someone picking up the phone in the associated council offices increases exponentially on Mondays and Wednesdays in the afternoon. I suggest calling first and getting some direction and input from the council representative's assistant on what to do. They may suggest your write an email outlining exactly what happened so they know what is going on, how best to help you and inform the associated council member.
This is my favorite avenue for filing a police complaint. Many of our local council representatives have had to play the role of defendant in their personal lives. Many of them are not friends of the Baltimore City Police Department. They are aware of the bullying tactics the Baltimore City Police use against the citizenry. Council representatives are usually pretty anxious to help out their constituents because they face reelection every 4 years and welcome an opportunity to make a new friend. They are often extremely interested to know if there is a rogue cop in their district on the loose.
If your city councilperson wishes to help you out, they may forward your email and concern to the Major at the appropriate police district. Once that occurs the complaint will go to an investigator within the district office and the investigator will contact you, either by phone or in person. Your complaint will be processed and an investigation will ensue.
The pros and cons of filing your complaint through the Mayor's office.
The Baltimore City Mayoral Representatives turns over at a frightening pace. Some mayors move on to greener pastures, some get indicted. However, this mayoral email address goes to whatever mayor is in place down at City Hall at the moment. You are free to use it to write your email complaint directly to the mayor. Or you can use this Baltimore City mayoral contact form.
The mayor's office forwards complaints to the Baltimore City Police Department's Chief of Patrols office. From there you will be contacted by a Patrols Office Detective. They will take your complaint and then initiate an investigation as needed. This methodology certainly brings results but it is a little slow.
Now that I have filed my complaint what can I expect from the investigator?
Once the police investigation is initialized I would strongly recommend you have the investigator access the associated police report for the incident, and have them get back to you once they have it. From the investigator you should ask for the names of the officers involved in the incident, their rank and which police district with which they are associated. You should also write down the police report number of the incident. Either have the investigator send you a copy of the report or have them read it to you over the phone. You can be amused and entertained to find that the content of the report most likely be the exact opposite of what you perceived happened during the incident. These police reports are often police CYA measures. Make sure you clarify how the police report is misleading or all-together false with the investigator.
It is up to you to follow up with the investigation. Don't hesitate to ask for the name and number of the investigator and make the phone call to find out the result of the investigation.