Who Do You Call With Cop Complaints?

Latoya Ledbetter of Hartford remembers a car crash that happened last summer, like it was yesterday.

"My vehicle went head on into a cast iron fence down at the corner of Lisbon and Willis (Streets)," Ledbetter said.

She remembers the rains and the young man that ran a stop sign.  Her car was totaled.  A Hartford police officer told her she’d have her police report within 3 to 5 business days, but 39 days later, the officer still hasn’t filed the report.

Ledbetter says she called the police department and was told there had been a clerical error.

“She said the accident is here, but not showing up that its been processed.  It looks like the report was deleted or we changed the case number, but we don’t have anything on file,” said Ledbetter.

She asked for a supervisor, hoping to make a complaint against the officer responsible for getting it done, but instead got  voicemail after voicemail.

Ledbetter said, "it was poor customer service, no one had any answers at the Hartford Police Department, they couldn't direct me to the right people."

That got us thinking.  How do you file a complaint against a Connecticut cop?

In search of answers, we went undercover to ten police departments across the state.

Many departments had forms readily available, but at least one police department left us waiting more than a half hour without an answer.

State law says each department has to have a procedure in place.  We found many departments have complaint forms readily available to the public.

Those looking to make a complaint in Vernon will come face-to-face with a shift commander who is more than willing to explain their process.

"Any time we receive a complaint it starts with a supervisor," a Vernon Sergeant said.

In New London, filing a complaint wasn’t as easy.  We waited and waited.  No form was given and no procedures were explained to us. Turns out, this department was sued in the '70s for ignoring cop complaints.  A federal court ordered it to establish a procedure to be followed by all personnel. The department is now trying to figure out why we were forced to wait so long without any help.

In Hartford, an officer told us complaints are made online or on paper.

But Ledbetter says she was never told of a form and instead wasted valuable time bouncing around the department’s switchboard.  The chief is now investigating this incident.

"We're about service, relationships and safety and that’s just not good service and we're working to improve that," said Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts.

 Ledbetter says the investigation is reassuring and she hopes no one else experiences the same frustration.

"Hopefully, after all of this some policies and procedures will be changed," Ledbetter said. 

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