Citizen’s Guide to Making Commendations and Complaints
How Are We Doing?
The Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing the best service possible. Feedback from the public is essential if we are to succeed in this goal. If you have questions or comments concerning our operational procedures, or recommendations on how we can improve our service, you may contact the Sheriff’s Office Administration. The Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing professional law enforcement services to the citizens and visitors of our County. In order to be responsive to the needs of our community, we encourage citizen input. Your constructive comments about our service, good or bad, will help us to improve and achieve our goal of providing the highest quality service possible.
Commending Exceptional Performance
The best way to commend the performance of a Deputy Sheriff is to write a brief letter or email (firstname.lastname@example.org )describing the incident and the actions the employee demonstrated which you felt were exceptional. Information such as the date, time and location will help identify the employee if you do not know his/her name. If you choose not to write, you may speak with the individual’s supervisor and make a verbal commendation. Commendations received will be forwarded to the employee with a copy placed in his/her personnel file. Although our employees do not expect to be thanked for everything they do, recognition of exceptional service is always appreciated. This kind of feedback helps us to know if we are doing a good job.
Making an Inquiry or Complaint
An inquiry or complaint can be made by letter, email (email@example.com), telephone or in person.
If your inquiry or complaint appears to be based on a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge of acceptable or desired conduct, procedures or practices, the Deputy Sheriff may offer an explanation. If you are not satisfied with his/her explanation, you may request to speak with the employee’s supervisor. Please be prepared to provide the date, time and location of the event; the name of the Deputy involved (if known); and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any possible witnesses. This information will be vital to an investigation into the incident.
Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office
4000 Main St.
Troy, NY 12180
Responsibility: Yours and Ours
The Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office views all complaints against its employees very seriously and actively pursues investigations of misconduct. For this reason, you must ensure that your complaint is based on facts. False reporting in an attempt to unjustly subject a Deputy Sheriff to undeserved discipline or slander, or place his/her employment in jeopardy, can result in criminal charges or civil liability.
Once an inquiry or complaint is received, the review/investigation process begins. If your concern is of an operational nature, it will generally be handled at the local level. If, however, it is a complaint, it may or may not be handled locally depending on the scope of the investigation needed to resolve the matter. A complaint investigation will usually include a review of all applicable reports, policies and procedures, examination of any evidence or medical records, and interviews with all parties and witnesses involved. This may take several weeks to investigate/review, whereas a simple inquiry may only take a few days to complete.
Questions and Answers
Q: Is there any risk in making a complaint against an employee?
A: No, but if a person deliberately makes a false complaint and statement against a member, that person may be criminally prosecuted or civilly liable.
Q: What happens when an investigation is initiated?
A: The complainant and the department employee will be notified that the case is under investigation.
Q: What happens when an investigation is concluded?
A: The complainant will be informed as to the outcome of their complaint.
Q: What happens to an employee if he/she is found to have acted improperly?
A: Depending on the severity of the conduct, dispositions of the investigation can range from retraining, to evaluations to discipline.
Q: What happens if a complaint cannot be proven or is not true?
A: Deputy Sheriffs must be provided with certain rights, just as all citizens are. Complaints must be supported by sufficient evidence. If there is insufficient evidence to prove an allegation, the employee will be cleared of the charge.