Harrisburg police chief: Process in place for citizen complaints against department

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Harrisburg police Chief Tom Carter says if someone wants to file a complaint against his department or an officer, they must do it in writing.

Carter says it’s not uncommon for people to come down to the station and express their concerns to him or a member of his command staff and then not follow through by filling out a complaint.

“Sometimes we are able to have a frank conversation and find resolution, and then the matter is resolved, but either way, we notify them that they have the right to file in writing,” Carter said.

Councilman Cornelius Johnson chairs the Public Safety Committee. He says that it’s important to get all visits on the record.

“Not everyone feels comfortable putting their name on a complaint, but if mistakes are made, we want to hold our officers accountable,” Johnson said.

The police department responded to more than 80,000 calls in 2015. With such a high volume, there are going to be disputes.

Carter says that the turnaround for a formal complaint is 30-60 days. He says that an internal affairs detective leads the investigation and the detective only reports to him, so there are no outside influences on cases.

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