Officer & Employee Complaints

The Michigan City Police Department operates with the expectation of the highest levels of professionalism from both sworn and non-sworn personnel. The Department is invested in the welfare of all persons and in taking action where its employees may have neglected their duties. Citizens initiating misconduct complaints can be assured their complaint will be given a thorough and fair investigation. If you feel an employee of the MCPD has mistreated you in any manner, please let us know.

Please be advised that submitting an internal affairs complaint will not have any effect on charges, either criminal or civil, that have been placed against a person by the Michigan City Police Department. Only the courts and the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office can resolve those matters. A complaint against an employee of the Department is a separate matter entirely.

We do not accept anonymous complaints. All complainants must provide their name and telephone number to allow us to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged violation.
Once a complaint has been received, you will be notified by the Department and you will be told who will be investigating your complaint. You will be personally contacted by the investigator with the findings.

Submitting a Complaint:

Persons wishing to file a complaint may:

  • Complete the online complaint form.
  • Pick up a written complaint form at the front desk of the Michigan City Police Department 24 hours a day.
  • Make a verbal complaint via telephone by contacting the appropriate Division or Shift Commander at (219) 874-3221 x1005.

Policy for Handling Complaints Against An Officer 

Receiving of a Complaint

Once a complaint has been received by the Division of Professional Standards, it will be assigned an Internal Affairs Case number.

All complaint investigations will then be reviewed by either the Chief of Police, Chief of Operation, or Chief of Services for review and assignment for investigation.

Classifying the Complaint

  • Inquiry Complaint: Investigation of a minor rule violation that, if sustained, would not result in discipline. The Commander of the Division of Professional Standards may determine that a complaint is appropriately handled by being classified as an Intake/Inquiry.
  • Formal Complaint: Investigation into allegations of administrative misconduct by employees of the department that, if true, would or could result in disciplinary action.

Assignment of Complaint

All complaints, whether inquiry or formal, are reviewed by the Chief of Police and his immediate staff as well as the Commander of the Division of Professional Standards.  The investigation is then assigned to either the immediate supervisor of the officer, one of the Chiefs or the Division of Professional Standards. The complainant will be notified of assignment via written notification within (5) five business days.

If a complaint is classified as sustained or if the Chief of Police and the officer's Commander disagree as to how the complaint is to be classified, the cases are reviewed by the Internal Investigative Review Panel, to include the two Assistant Chiefs, the Division of Professional Standards Commander, and the Commander of the involved officer(s).

How are cases reviewed for completeness?
All cases are reviewed by the Chief of Police and staff.  Once reviewed, a complaint will be classified as either a formal complaint or an inquiry.

How are cases evaluated?
Once a formal complaint has been investigated and reviewed, it is given one of five classifications. The classification given is known as the finding(s):

  • Unfounded: Based on the facts of the investigation, the act(s) did not occur.
  • Exonerated: Actions of the involved officer(s) were justified, lawful and proper.
  • Insufficient Evidence: There was not enough evidence to prove or disprove the allegation(s).
  • Sustained: Sufficient evidence to prove the allegations of misconduct.
  • Policy Failure: Omissions or insufficient/ineffective policy to address the allegation(s). If this is the finding, recommendations will be made to create and/or adjust policy.

How is the complainant involved notified?
The complainant is notified in writing with the results of the investigation.

What happens at the conclusion of an investigation?
If the investigation fails to sustain any misconduct, you will receive a letter from the Commander of the Division of Professional Standards advising you of the outcome. If misconduct is established, a disciplinary recommendation will be offered to the employee. If the employee accepts that recommendation the matter will be concluded. Should the employee decline the offer, the matter will follow established internal procedures. In the case of a civilian employee, a grievance process is implemented. In those cases, involving police officers, an administrative hearing may be convened and testimony will be taken under oath. As a complainant you may be called to testify.  In all cases, the complainant will be notified of the investigative results.

Will I be informed of any disciplinary action taken?
Under Indiana State Law, specific internal disciplinary actions taken are defined as “personnel actions” and are confidential.

However, the complainant will be notified if any administrative violations were found to have occurred.