Complaint Process-University Police - Carnegie Mellon University

Citizen Complaint Process

The University Police Department is committed to providing quality police and security services to the entire university community and its visitors. We take that duty seriously, and for that reason have adopted internal safeguards to discourage abuses of authority by our employees. Complaints regarding such abuses are vigorously investigated. If you feel that an employee of this department has acted in an abusive, disrespectful, discourteous or unprofessional manner toward you or others, you are encouraged to report that employee to a University Police supervisor. A proper relationship between the police and the public they serve, fostered by confidence and trust, is essential to successful law enforcement. Therefore, you help all of us when you report incidents that you consider improper conduct.

Our Policy

It is the policy of the Carnegie Mellon University Police Department to investigate all complaints against its employees. This ensures the integrity of the department while protecting the rights and interests of both citizens and department employees.

Who may complain?

Any person who is the object of, witnesses, or has direct knowledge of, employee misconduct may file a complaint with University Police.

When you should complain?

You should contact University Police immediately or as soon as possible whenever you witness behavior by any employee which is a violation of city, state or federal law, university policy, involves excessive use of force, or involves discourteous or abusive treatment. A complaint may be filed at any time of the day or night. However, you must file your complaint within 60 calendar days after you, using reasonable diligence, become aware or should have become aware of the matter, incident or situation giving rise to the complaint.

How you file a complaint?

Complaints may be lodged with the on-duty shift supervisor in person at the University Police Office located at 300 South Craig Street; by sending a letter or email to the chief of police; or by telephone. Anonymous complaints will be accepted; however, anonymous complaints are sometimes difficult to substantiate as the complainant is not available for re-interview. You may also download the PDF version of the Citizen Complaint Report Form

Who investigates the complaint?

University Police supervisors are charged with maintaining discipline and with overseeing the conduct of employees assigned to them. In most cases, the employee's supervisor will conduct an investigation and report the incident through the chain of command for disposition. The chief of police may conduct serious investigations. Allegations of criminal activity may be referred to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency. The person receiving your complaint will ask you to provide as much information as possible. If you were involved in or witnessed the incident, it is extremely important to the investigation that a statement is obtained from you.

After the supervisor has interviewed all parties involved, the disposition will fall into one of the following categories:

Not Involved

The investigation established that the employee was not involved in or not present at the time the alleged misconduct occurred.


The act complained of did not occur, or the allegation is false or not factual.


The act or incident did occur but was justified, lawful and proper.

Not Sustained

The investigation failed to discover sufficient or substantial evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.


Sufficient evidence was disclosed to justify a reasonable conclusion that the allegation is factual.

If a complaint is sustained, disciplinary action may be taken consisting of one of the following measures: oral reprimand, written reprimand, suspension without pay, demotion and termination. In addition to any disciplinary action, the employee may be required to participate in developmental intervention and, where appropriate, remedial training to correct deficiencies.

Within 30 business days from the date you filed the complaint (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state or federal holidays), you will be advised by letter or email of the supervisor's findings and whether action will be taken. However, if the complaint is filed in connection with a pending criminal arrest or internal university judicial referral, the response will not be provided until the final disposition of the charges by a court or university mediation or hearing board. Inasmuch as the matter is confidential, you will not be told specific information that violates the employee's right to privacy or the exact nature of the action taken.

The University Police Department views all citizen complaints against its employees very seriously, and actively pursues investigations into misconduct. For this reason, you must ensure that your complaint is based on fact and you have provided us with all the facts to the best of your knowledge. If you intentionally make a false report, you should know that doing so could result in criminal charges being filed against you (Crimes Code of PA, Sec. 4906).

Our commitment to you the Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Police Department shall at all times strive to be respectful, courteous and professional in all dealings with the citizens we serve. It is our hope that all of your contacts with our employees are positive. If not, we will endeavor to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction in a prompt and objective way.

We would also appreciate hearing from you when we have provided you with quality, commendable service, too!