Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau was asked about police complaints by Black Lives Matter organizer Mica Grimm in front of the Minneapolis Fourth Precinct. (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE)
Minneapolis residents may soon have an easier time filing a grievance against a police officer accused of misconduct.
Police officials on Tuesday announced changes to the complaint-filing process, including clarifying confusing language on the department’s website and, starting next month, training officers on receiving complaints. Officials also said there are plans to open a satellite office for walk-in complaints.
The department refined procedures for handling misconduct allegations after the release earlier this year of a report by the civilian-run Police Conduct Oversight Commission that laid out a list of problems in the way that complaints about police behavior are handled and suggested possible fixes.
On several occasions, testers sent to each of the department’s five precinct houses were told they had to go to another police station to file a complaint or that nothing could be done without the officer’s name or badge number.
The seven-member panel called on the department to provide “training for all officers on the Office of Police Conduct Review [OPCR] process and complaint handling to better provide customer service to the community,” among other recommendations.
In addition to new training, officers will start distributing cards with a “snapshot to give them a little more information about how to file a complaint,” said Imani Jaafar, director of the OPCR, a citizen body that works with Internal Affairs to investigate citizen complaints. The cards will be translated into six languages: Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, Somali, Oromo and Spanish, Jaafar said at Tuesday’s PCOC meeting.
The department’s internal affairs unit publishes quarterly reports of the year’s allegations of misconduct and their resolutions, but critics argue that the process is opaque and that few officers are ever disciplined.