File a Complaint
Citizen’s Complaint Against Agency Employees
The Bradford County Sheriff’s Office procedure for complaints against personnel provides a service for you, the community, and to our agency as well. It is the policy of the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office to investigate all allegations and complaints of misconduct against any member of the agency. Proper adherence to the provisions of this policy will resolve disputes and facilitate prompt and equitable corrective action (where applicable). If you have a concern about the practices or personnel of the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office you may utilize any of the outlined options below to file a complaint. Florida Statutes require that all police agencies within the state have a complaint procedure:
Florida Statutes 112.533 – Receipt and processing of complaints.
- Every law enforcement agency and correctional agency shall establish and put into operation a system for the receipt, investigation, and determination of complaints received by such agency from any person.
While the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office is committed to processing valid citizen complaints against department members, we are also cognizant that there are some individuals who may make a false complaint against an agency employee. We caution any citizen that might make such a false allegation that you may find yourself criminally charged under any of the following Florida statutes: Florida Statute 837.06 False Official Statements. Florida Statute 837.012 Perjury When Not in a Official Proceeding. Florida Statute 837.02 Perjury in Official Proceedings Florida Statute 837.021 Perjury by Contradictory Statements. How To Make a Complaint: You may file a complaint utilizing any of the following options:
- You may respond to the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office at 945-B North temple Avenue, Starke, Florida 32091, in person. When you arrive a member of the agency will be more than glad to provide you with a Citizens Complaint Procedures form.
- You may file a complaint by telephone at (904) 966-2276. You should ask to speak with the Internal Investigations Section. If no one is immediately available, you may leave a message on a voice mail and someone will return your call as soon as practical. After discussing your complaint with you, your options for resolution will be provided.
- You may request a copy by mail and fax it to the Sheriff’s Office. Faxed complaints should be sent to (904) 966-6160 to the attention of Internal Affairs. Once you have completed and faxed the form, you may also telephone (904) 966-2276 to set an appointment with an investigator to confirm delivery of the complaint.
- Finally, you always have the option of filing an anonymous complaint. However, where there are no investigative leads (i.e., witnesses, names, contact information, dates, or times) it will be difficult for us to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations.
The person receiving your complaint may ask you to provide as much information as possible, or for additional details regarding the incident. If you were involved in or witnessed the incident, it is extremely important to the investigation that a statement is obtained from you. From your statement, an investigator will complete the Agency’s Preliminary Complaint Report Against Sheriff’s Office Personnel. If your concern stems from an arrest or citation issued to a family member or yourself, it is possible that it may not be investigated until the legal matter has been settled. Depending on the seriousness of your complaint, it may be investigated in one of two ways. It will either be forwarded to the employee’s supervisor for inquiry or to the Internal Affairs Section (more serious allegations) for investigation. Each complaint is examined on its own merits. Formal investigations require investigators to contact all available witnesses, including sworn officers, examine any relevant physical evidence and gather all information pertinent to each allegation made in a complaint. The Sheriff will render a finding in each case. The four possible findings are: Sustained – the allegation has been investigated and the facts show that the allegation is true and the action taken was not consistent with the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office’s rules, policy, standard operating procedures or common practice. Inconclusive/Not sustained – the allegation has been investigated and there is insufficient proof to either confirm or refute the allegation. Exonerated – the allegation has been investigated and the facts indicate that the action was consistent with agency policy. Unfounded – the allegation has been investigated and either the allegation is demonstrably false or there is no credible evidence to support it. This finding shall also apply when individual personnel named in the complaint were not involved in an act that did occur. You will be notified of the findings in writing at the conclusion of the investigation. When a finding of “sustained” is determined, corrective action will be taken. The type of corrective action imposed is subject to the provisions of the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office’s Policy and Procedure Manual, and where applicable any collective bargaining agreement. Discipline may include training, counseling, and action up to and including termination. If your complaint is sustained and punitive discipline is imposed, the employee has certain appeal rights. Therefore, you may be required to testify at one or more administrative proceedings. Your valid concerns and criticisms help us to protect the community from possible misconduct by employees. At the same time, a thorough and impartial investigation procedure helps protect employees from unwarranted charges when they perform their duties properly.
Under Florida law, e-mails are public records. If you do not want your e-mail released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to the BCSO. Instead, contact this office by phone.