HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - If you have a complaint about an officer’s conduct, the process was simple; head to the police department and go to Internal Affairs.
But Huntsville Police Department is slightly changing that process and its location. That means no more going through metal detectors and navigating a large station.
The officers are also not in uniform, making it a less intimidating process, but we’re told there’s still some distrust in the community.
“Anything from a ticket, to rudeness to I was improperly arrested,” Lt. Jon Ware said.
Whatever the complaint may be. Lt. Jon Ware, the Director for Internal Affairs with the Huntsville Police Department, says you can bring it to them.
“We look into the actions of our officers, review the cameras, review the reports, and then provide the chief with an unbiased account of what happened,” he explained.
From there, it’s up to Chief Mark McMurray to decide on the appropriate punishment, if necessary.
“Anything from a retraining up to termination so everything is on the table when it comes to that.”
Lt. Ware says the internal affairs process is about maintaining integrity and community trust.
However, Chris Brown isn’t sure police are truly policing each other.
“They are still responsible to the Chief and that’s who they answer to,” Brown said.
He says some community members would feel more trusting if there was another layer of accountability.
“There needs to be an oversight board that is external to the police department. Right now we have an advisory council, but that is not the same as an oversight board that would review complaints,” he said.
The most recent data available from internal affairs is from 2019, broken down by how many complaints were founded and unfounded.
That year, 44 complaints were unfounded, nine were deemed proper conduct by the officer and 32 were founded.
Lt. Ware says they take these complaints seriously.
“It’s very easy to prejudge and say we wont do anything, but you wont know until you give us that opportunity,” he said.
You are allowed to view footage regarding your specific encounter with police.
You can also call or email the office to submit your complaint, after the investigators review all the video and compile interviews, they will mail you a letter with their findings.