The Office of Professional Standards is responsible for ensuring that the police officers of the Wilmington Department of Police work in true partnership with citizens and that our contact with citizens is positive. Officers of the Wilmington Department of Police are trained to follow local, state and federal policies and procedures.
The Office of Professional Standards examines compliance of Wilmington police officers with the department's standards of conduct. No evidence gathered in direct relation to the investigation will be offered into any judicial proceeding, either for or against the complainant.
The mission of the Office of Professional Standards is to protect the public and the Wilmington Department of Police through fair, thorough and proactive investigations of alleged misconduct. How is this mission accomplished?
- PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC - Identifying and taking corrective action of police department personnel by changing procedures that would result in a negative perception by the citizens of Wilmington.
- PROTECTION OF PERSONNEL - Ensuring that all allegations against employee personnel are investigated fairly and with accuracy so that malicious and false misconduct complaints are identified.
- PROTECTION OF THE DEPARTMENT - initiating the corrective action so that misconduct by a small number will not blemish the integrity of the Wilmington Department of Police.
The Office of Professional Standards consists of the following staff:
- Divisional Commander - responsible for investigating all cases assigned by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
- Investigative Sergeants - responsible for investigating all cases assigned by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
- Court Liaison Sergeant - responsible for all issues pertaining to court appearances for officers.
- Sergeant assigned as the Extra-Job Coordinator - responsible for assigning officers to work for various businesses who wish to hire an off-duty officer for security or traffic purposes.
How to File a Citizen Complaint
In order for the Wilmington Department of Police to investigate an allegation of police officer misconduct an official Citizen Complaint Form must be filed. Only allegations against Wilmington Police Officers will be investigated.
The complainant must obtain a Wilmington Police Citizen Complaint Form from the House Sergeant’s Office located on the 1st Floor of the William T. McLaughlin Public Safety Building located at 300 N. Walnut Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. The office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The complainant can also contact the Office of Professional Standards Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (302) 576-3197. The complainant can request that a form be mailed to their home address or sent via fax. If the form is mailed out the complainant should allow 3 to 5 business days for delivery.
The complainant can also file a complaint online.
- Visite este enlace para utilizar la version en español del formulario de reclamo hecho por un particular con respecto a la conducta de los agentes de policía de Wilmington.
Citizen's Complaint Review
Once the complaint form has been received it will be evaluated for credibility by the Commanding Officer of the Professional Standards Division. After it has been reviewed it will then be assigned to an OPS Investigator for follow-up investigation. The complainant will be contacted within 3 business days by the investigating officer to verify that the complaint is active.
Once the investigation is complete a determination will be made to either substantiate or UNsubstantiate the allegation. A letter will be sent to the complainant indicating the disposition of the case.
According to state law the findings of an internal investigation are prohibited from being released to the PUBLIC. However, the complainant will be notified whether or not their allegation was substantiated or unsubstantiated.
- SUBSTANTIATED: There is sufficient proof to confirm the allegation by a preponderance of evidence.
- UNSUBSTANTIATED: There is insufficient proof to confirm the allegation.
- UNFOUNDED: The allegation is either demonstrably false or there is no credible evidence to support it.
- PROPER CONDUCT: The officer is exonerated, in that he/she conducted in a manner alleged, but was within policy guidelines.
- POLICY FAILURE: A view by the Office of Professional Standards will be made to determine if the policy is proper or improper, or if additional training is required.
If an Allegation Cannot be Proven or is Not True
Police officers and citizens must be accorded certain rights; therefore, complaints must be supported by sufficient evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint, the officer and complainant are notified of the outcome of the investigation and the officer continues on duty. In the event of a substantiated allegation, the complainant may be required to appear as a witness at the Complain Hearing Board where a hearing is held by a three-member panel that will hear all evidence in the matter and determine guilt or innocence.