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False Officer Complaint = False Police Report?


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  • False Officer Complaint = False Police Report?

    Quick question that has been stirring in my mind.

    I had an officer complaint filed against me a few months back that was an out-and-out lie. Short version is: Offender on T-Stop calls into PD to say I "threatened her" and told her she would be "sorry if she fought the ticket in court." Of couse, my digital recorder told a completly different story, because I was nothing but polite and professional and said nothing even REMOTELY similar.

    As required, my supervisors investigated it and exposed it for the complete and total lie it was.

    Now, even something like this requires police time and resources. What is the difference between this an filing a false police report?

    Are there precedents around the country for charging people with this? How is the statute written?

    We all get complaints no matter what we do. Nothing will change that, but I was thinking about this, and wondered what is happening in other parts of the country.

    Thanks in advance.

    "Two rules to a gunfight: 1) Have a gun. 2) Bring all your friends that have guns."

  • #2
    Nothing in my jursdiction covering this, but nationally officers have been filing civil suits for stuff like this. You may wish to check with NIJ for stats.
    "A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood." Lt. Gen. George S. Patton


    • #3
      RE: Complaint Suit


      I am aware of the civil suits. I know that is a pain. I would do it if it was something really serious that could potentially damage my credibility (such as making the news or papers), but not for the typical, ridiculous stuff that usually comes in.

      You know, the stupid ones that allege you said or did something that is so obviously false. They still generate an administrative police report. That is still a false report, right?


      • #4
        I've heard of some departments choosing not to file charges against these people because they don't want to scare away legitimate complaints. To me, I think all you need to do is start charging the most blatantly false with solid evidence of the untruth (digital recorder, dash cam, etc.) and many of those frivolous complainants would think twice before filing a report. But the serious ones would still come forward. In fact, if they know their incident is recorded, it could very well help their case out.
        Caution and worry never accomplished anything.


        • #5
          RE: Charges

          I think that is fair enough. In that case, I think it is up to the officer/department to use some discretion about who they file charges against, in order to prevent discouraging legitimate complaints.

          If it is simply a matter of misinterpretation, or misunderstanding, then no, they should not be charged. I suppose I should qualify the whole statement my saying that the ones that are obviously malicious and false.


          • #6
            I have heard of civil suits against those who make false complaints. However, to actually win one, I would imagine you would need some quantifiable damages. If you had to hire a lawyer, missed work, were suspended without pay, etc....then you might have a case.
            Do your best, do what is right


            • #7
              RE: Quantifiable Damages

              You're right.

              It would be tought to show that you were damaged, but in an extreme case, I think you could do it. It would be subjective, for sure, but you could do it. Of course, that is worst-case-scenario. The main reason I posted this was to see how the typical dumb ones we all get are handled at various agencies.


              • #8
                Re: RE: Quantifiable Damages

                Originally posted by GCPD1258
                You're right.

                It would be tought to show that you were damaged, but in an extreme case, I think you could do it. It would be subjective, for sure, but you could do it. Of course, that is worst-case-scenario. The main reason I posted this was to see how the typical dumb ones we all get are handled at various agencies.
                Depends on the accusation filed in the complaint and where it is filed.

                Anyone can go down to our Citizens Police Complaint Board or to Internal Affairs and file a complaint. They will do an initial invest and then a more thorough one if needed. Findings will be unfounded, substantiated, unsubstantiated; however, it can be sent back to the district supervisor to be handled.

                If the complaint is made on the street or on the district level, a supervisor will either handle it in house or if it is more serious, will send it up to IA.
                Do your best, do what is right


                • #9
                  Re: Complaint

                  Pretty much same here.

                  But, doesn't that qualify as a police investigation? It seems to me they investigate this stuff as much as any crime. When they are genuinely false, doesn't that constitiute filing a false police report? I'd love to see a statute were we could charge some of these idiots with something.


                  • #10
                    Not sure about where you are but here in kansas if the complaintant wrote a notarized statement they "can" be charged with Making a False Writing.

                    And TG for those digital recorders. They can save your a** sometimes.

                    KSA 21-3711
                    Last edited by ksphatcop; 01-19-2004, 01:18 PM.


                    • #11
                      Re: Notarized Statement

                      Now, that is an idea! If the dept required the complaints to be in writing and notorized (some of the records personnel are notaries), I'm sure we would have some grounds to charge someone with filing a false document.

                      If nothing else, you could have a disclaimer on the complaint form signifying that falsifying and statements made would constitute a criminal offense. I bet that would discourage 99% of them right there, when they find out the would be looking at charges if they lie.

                      Thanks a bunch.


                      • #12
                        This might help ....

                        Idaho Statutes TITLE 18
                        CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
                        CHAPTER 54
                        GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, OR SPECIFIED PROFESSIONALS. (1) A person is guilty of a
                        misdemeanor if he knowingly gives or causes to be given false information to
                        any law enforcement officer, any state or local government agency or
                        personnel, or to any person licensed in this state to practice social work,
                        psychology or counseling, concerning the commission of an offense, knowing
                        that the offense did not occur or knowing that he has no information relating
                        to the offense or danger.
                        Last edited by Sgt. Mikey; 01-19-2004, 04:30 PM.


                        • #13
                          I think it would have to involve criminal charges to qualify for making a false police report, such as yours by you supposingly making threats. In CA, we would call that PC 422 - Criminal threats of violence. (It used to be called terrorist threats, but I think they changed it because they realized how dumb the "terrorist" part sounded.

                          But if someone complains becuase you told them "have a nice day jerk-off", which may or may not be criminal where you work, you may not have a basis for a false police report. Reason being, I think that most non-criminal IA materials (at least here) are not offical police documents (ie police reports) that can be accessed by anyone, but are rather internal documents.

                          If this lady is full of ****, and she sounds like she is, I would charge her. There are too many like her these days. Send a message to people who want to complain to only get you in trouble.
                          Brutality is when we hit back.
                          -Unknown Officer


                          • #14
                            Re: Prov False Info

                            Yep, very aware of this code. It is mainly used when someone gives you the name Joe Smith and a DOB of 01/01/01, and comes back with no record, even though he is totally sleeved out with prison tats, and you find out his real name.

                            I don't know of any precedent to use it in this capacity. It would seem to fit, but I don't know if it has ever been tried.


                            • #15
                              Charge her pathetic piece of sh*t *****. Take no plea's either.



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