COMPLAINT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I submit an employee misconduct complaint to the Department?

There are multiple ways to submit misconduct complaints:

  • In person with any supervisor on duty. A supervisor is available twenty-four hours a day to speak to citizens in the lobby of the Public Safety Building, 6501 Coastal Highway, Ocean City, Maryland.
  • By telephone with the Office of Professional Standards, Internal Affairs Section at 410-723-8800, Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is a voice mail system for those who call after business hours. You may also contact Internal Affairs by email at [email protected]

What does the Department do with my complaint?

When the Department receives a complaint, the complaint is evaluated by the Office of Professional Standards, Internal Affairs Section. Based on the nature of the complaint, it will be investigated by Internal Affairs, or by an appropriate commander or supervisor.

Will I be contacted by the Department?

If you have provided your contact information, yes. You will be contacted by Internal Affairs or by an investigator following the assignment of your complaint. As part of the investigation, you may be required to meet with the investigator,  provide a detailed verbal statement and answer questions about your complaint.

How are complaints reviewed and resolved?

All complaints which have been investigated are reviewed by the Commander of the Office of Professional Standards. Once a complaint has been reviewed it is given one of five classifications referred to as the finding(s): Findings include:

  • Sustained: Sufficient evidence to prove the allegations of misconduct.
  • Insufficient Evidence: There is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation(s).
  • Exonerated: The actions of the involved employee(s) were justified, lawful, proper and in compliance with policy.
  • Unfounded: The allegation was false, not factual, did not involve police employees or did not occur.
  • Policy/Training Failure: Omissions or insufficient/ineffective policy or training to address the employee’s actions/conduct.

When a complaint is classified as “sustained” it is forwarded to the Chief of Police for review and consideration of further action.

What happens at the conclusion of an internal investigation?

In all cases, you will be notified of the investigative results of your complaint. If the investigation fails to sustain any misconduct, you will receive a letter from the Department advising you of the finding, and no further action will occur.

If misconduct is established, the Chief of Police will make a disciplinary offer to the employee. If the employee accepts the offer, the matter will be concluded.

Should the employee decline the offer, the matter will follow the due process established by Maryland Code, Public Law Title 3 for sworn employees, and Town of Ocean City policy for civilian employees.

In cases involving sworn police officers, an administrative hearing may be convened and testimony would be taken under oath by witnesses. As a complainant you will likely be called to testify at this hearing. The Department will provide to you all of the necessary information regarding the location and time of the hearing so that you may appear to provide your testimony.

Will I be informed of any disciplinary action taken against the employee?

Yes.  At the conclusion of the due process afforded to employees, if formal disciplinary action is taken, you will be notified.

Will my complaint impact any charges previously placed against me by police?

No. If you have been charged with criminal, traffic, or civil offenses, those charges must be resolved by the Maryland courts.