“Strong relationships of mutual trust between police agencies and the communities they serve are critical to maintaining public safety and effective policing. Police officials rely on the cooperation of community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and to work with the police to devise solutions to crime and disorder problems. Similarly community members’ willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values and incorporate the principles of procedural justice and legitimacy.” — Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice.
Police misconduct complaints generally should be made to the following:
- The local police department’s internal affairs unit, or a department supervisor;
- The county District Attorney, if the local police department has been unresponsive;
- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) – the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office (Eastern District of PA; Middle District of PA; Western District of PA), or Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section and Special Litigation Section.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General does not have direct administrative or criminal jurisdiction over police departments or police misconduct issues. The Criminal Law Division can prosecute cases of local police misconduct only when referred by district attorneys. The Civil Rights Enforcement Section is committed to working to promote effective and lawful policing.
Nothing on this page should be construed as legal advice.