Commendation and Complain Process

Commendation Process:
The members of the Yarmouth Police Department make every effort to perform their duties in a competent, courteous, and professional manner.  Frequently, many of our employees exceed the expectations of the public in the performance of their duties.  If you have observed an employee performing in such an exemplary manner, we encourage you to let us know about it.

Our employees, like everyone else, appreciate it when their good deeds are recognized.  Too often they are remembered for the traffic tickets they issue or the arrests they have to make, not for the occasions they go above and beyond in their public service.  Although our employees don't expect to be thanked for everything they do, recognition of exceptional service is always appreciated.

The best way to commend the actions of a Yarmouth Police Department employee is to write a brief letter or note describing the incident and the actions you think were exceptional.  You may mail your letter to:  Chief of Police, 178 North Road, Yarmouth, Maine 04096.  Information such as the date, time and location will help identify the employee if you don't know their name.  You may also email or simply call us at 846-3333 and ask to speak to the Chief of Police.

All commendations received by the Chief of Police are forwarded to the employee with a copy placed in their personnel file.

Complaint Process:
Any citizen who feels that they have knowledge of police corruption or misconduct is encouraged to use the Yarmouth Police Department's complaint procedure.

The procedure set forth is designed to inform and assist the citizen through each step of the process and ensure the fair treatment and due process of the employee.

A complaint should be made as soon as practicable after the incident to the shift supervisor either by phone or in person.  After giving a brief summary to the shift supervisor, a date and time will be confirmed for you to speak with an Internal Affairs Officer. Every complaint regardless of its nature is assigned for investigation.

Internal Affairs
The duty of the Internal Affairs Officer is to provide citizens with a fair and effective avenue for redress of substantive grievances against police department employees and to protect employees from false charges of misconduct or wrongdoing by providing those accused with due process safeguards.  The Yarmouth Police Department wishes to maintain its professional reputation and the integrity of its employees.  Therefore, the Department shall not hesitate to impose disciplinary actions on irresponsible officers or remove from employment any officer who proves to be unfit for police work.

Conversely, in the course of the investigation, sworn statements may be required.  It is important to note that MRSA Title 17-A, Chapter19, provides criminal penalties for anyone making a false report.  It will be the policy of the Yarmouth Police Department to pursue criminal charges against any individual that contrives charges or makes false statements under oath against any employee.

The department will accept and investigate all complaints of employee misconduct or wrongdoing from any citizen.  Following a thorough and impartial investigation, the employee will be adjudicated by the Chief of Police, or, in the case of criminal allegations, by the District Attorney or Attorney General's Office who will make a judgment as to whether criminal charges should be brought.

Employees that are judged to have committed a violation of departmental rules and regulations may be disciplined according to departmental policy or, in the case of criminal violation, by the courts.

Employees exonerated of the charges will have the incident expunged from their personnel record.  A record of all complaints and subsequent investigations, however, will be maintained indefinitely by the Chief of Police.  All records shall remain confidential.

Complaint Procedure
Report any complaint as soon as possible to the Shift Supervisor on duty.

  1. Shift Supervisor will record all pertinent information from the complainant.
  2. Complainant will be scheduled to meet with the Internal Affairs Officer.
  3. Complainant will be asked to make a sworn written statement to the Internal Affairs Officer.
  4. The Internal Affairs Officer will seek input from the complainant as to whether the matter should be handled formally or informally.
  5. In the event that the complainant does NOT wish to pursue the charges, the matter will be considered by the Internal Affairs Officer as to whether internal charges should be brought and investigated.  The Chief of Police will have the final decision on this matter.
  6. Should the citizen complaint be formally assigned; the complainant will be notified in writing that the complaint is being investigated and of the approximate time necessary to complete the inquiry.  The employee will receive a copy of this notification.
  7. Upon completion of the investigation the Internal Affairs Officer will present his findings to the Chief of Police who will determine if substantive allegations of criminal wrongdoing are evident, thereby necessitating the District Attorney's or Attorney General's involvement.
  8. Upon adjudication of the charges, and before any detrimental entry is placed in the employees personnel file, a meeting will be held between the Chief of Police, the citizen making the complaint and the employee(s) involved.
  9. The employee will be entitled to representation throughout this procedure and all opportunities for due process will be afforded.

Disposition of Complaints
Disposition of complaints are classified as follows:

  • UnfoundedIncident did not occur or officer not involved.
  • ExoneratedIncident occurred and officer acted lawfully and properly.
  • Not Sustained Insufficient evidence exists to prove or disprove the allegation.
  • SustainedAllegation is supported by substantive evidence.

Sanctions for Sustained Complaints
The following sanctions may be imposed for sustained complaints:

  • Verbal Reprimand
  • Written Reprimand
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Criminal Charges