Office of Professional Standards

The Office of Professional Standards is directed by a police Captain who reports directly to the Chief of Police and Assistant Chief. The primary function of this office is to receive, assign and investigate complaints on employee actions received from citizens or initiated by the department. This office monitors all investigations for timely completion and reports the findings to the complaining parties and subject employee(s). 

Complaints & Commendations

A complaint is an incident which gives rise to one or more allegations of misconduct. A single complaint may allege misconduct by multiple employees and/or multiple violations of departmental policies. The number of complaints filed may not equal the number of allegations and findings resulting from the investigation.

Citizens frequently want to thank or commend Billings Police employees for acts of service or for their response to a particular incident. Written feedback is tracked by the Office of Professional Standards.

Use this form to report a complaint or commendation.

Types of Complaints

Internal vs. External

Citizens or BPD supervisors may enter complaints. 

Class I vs. Class II

 Class I complaints are more serious and include allegations such as excessive force, violations of criminal law, breach of civil rights, bias policing, other more serious allegations. A pattern of Class II complaints is elevated to a Class I level. Class II complaints include allegations of inadequate service, discourtesy, minor performance issues, improper procedure and other less serious and noncriminal conduct.

Allegations

 This is a distinctly different category than complaints. They are assertions of an employee’s behavior that, if proven, would amount to a violation of department policy. A single complaint may result in multiple allegations of misconduct against one employee, single allegations against multiple employees or a combination of these. 

Findings

 A finding is issued for each allegation in an investigation, including those made by the complainant and those discovered during the investigation. Findings also are issued when policy violations are discovered during a review of employee performance following an incident such as a pursuit, response to resistance, or employee vehicle accident. For these reasons, the number of findings issued will exceed the number of complaints reported. 

Definitions

Exonerated

 Findings of proper conduct, training deficiency and policy failure. Overall, the acts which were the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred but were justified, lawful and proper or the acts were not proper or justified but resulted from a lack of training or policy. 

Sustained

 Improper conduct. The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegations made. 

Not Sustained

Insufficient evidence. The investigation failed to discover sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegations.

Unfounded

The investigation conclusively proved the act(s) in the complaint did not occur. This also applies when individual officers or employees were not involved in acts which may have occurred. 

Resolved with Complainant

This applies only to Class II complaints. The determination of guilt may or may not be sustained but the complainant is satisfied with the results of the investigation. 

Pending 

The investigation is on-going.