Filing a Complaint Against the Sheriff's Office or an Employee
It is the goal of the St. Mary's County Maryland Sheriff's Office to provide responsive and professional law enforcement services to the residents and visitors of our county.
Each member of the Sheriff's Office strives to work toward our goal through working with the community and solving problems on a daily basis. For the continued improvement of the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, it is imperative that we maintain the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office welcomes your suggestions and comments regarding our performance. Be it a question, comment, commendation or complaint, we want to hear from you.
Below you will find the answers to some frequently asked questions for those who wish to file a complaint against a Sheriff's Office employee.
The Sheriff is interested in hearing from the citizens of St. Mary's County regarding his employees, regardless of the nature - commendation or complaint. The Sheriff's Office accepts and thoroughly investigates all complaints on the part of its personnel: Deputies, Correctional Officers or civilian employees. The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office Complaint Against Personnel Report can be obtained at all three county libraries, the Governmental Center, or at Sheriff's Office Headquarters and Outposts.
Do I have to give my name if I file a complaint?
No. The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office prefers that citizens leave their name and contact information; however, we will investigate an anonymous complaint if the citizen provides sufficient information to adequately look into the matter.
Do I have to complain in person?
We prefer to talk to you in person, so that your information can be represented more thoroughly. We also accept complaints by telephone or letter. You should include your contact information, as we will need to contact you. In some cases, such as a formal complaint, it will be necessary that we speak to you in person. This meeting can take place at the Sheriff's Office, your home, or other location.
Do I have to file a "Formal Complain" or can I just speak with the employee's supervisor?
If you choose, you can meet with the affected employee's immediate supervisor or Division Commander to air your concerns.
How much time do I have to file a complaint?
Complaints should be filed as soon as possible as delays could harm an investigation due to the passage of time.
If you have a brutality complaint, your complaint must be filed and notarized within 90 days.
Will my complaint be published in the newspaper?
No. Complaints Against Personnel are considered confidential in nature and are not released to any press or media.
Who will investigate my complaint?
Your complaint will be investigated by a Sheriff's Office supervisor or the Office of Professional Responsibilities.
Will the employee know that I filed a complaint against them?
Yes. The employee has a right to know who made a complaint against him or her.
Will the Sheriff's Office retaliate against me for making a complaint?
ABSOLUTELY NOT It is essential that we maintain the public's confidence in order to continue the high standards that the Sheriff's Office has set.
I'm under 18 years old. Can I make a complaint?
Yes, but you need to be accompanied by an adult.
How will I know what happened once I make a complaint?
Once the investigation is concluded, all persons who file a complaint will be notified of the results of the investigation. The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office completes an annual statistical summary of all complainants and dispositions. The statistical summary is available upon request to the public.
MARYLAND POLICE TRAINING AND STANDARDS COMMISSION UNIFORM CITIZEN COMPLAINT PROCESS
- Each law enforcement agency shall have a citizen complaint process.
- Citizens may make complaints in person, by telephone, or via email.
- Citizens making complaints shall be required to provide a name, mailing address, and phone number or email if they wish to receive notifications.
- In person and telephone complaints will be handled by the officer in charge at the time the complaint is lodged. Complaints will be handled in a neutral manner with no attempts to influence the complainant in a negative manner.
- Agency policy should establish that email complaints be directed to a specific individual or position within the agency and not to a general email box.
- Citizens should receive an initial response to their complaints within 72 hours.
- In the event of an investigation, citizens will receive updates to their complaints a minimum of one time per (week/month) until the complaint is resolved.
- The agency will notify the complainant of the outcome of the complaint within 72 hours of a disposition, including any discipline imposed in accordance with established confidentiality policies and any applicable law.
- The process for filing citizen complaints and a timeframe for outcomes will be posted in a public area of each agency and on the agency's website if it maintains one.