How do I submit a complaint about a Sarasota Police Department officer or employee?
The City of Sarasota takes seriously all complaints made against SPD officers and civilian staff. If you feel as though you or someone else was treated improperly by a member of the Sarasota Police Department, you may register a complaint. The City of Sarasota will accept your complaint by telephone, correspondence, or in-person at the front desk of SPD headquarters at:
Sarasota Police Department
2099 Adams Lane, Sarasota, FL 34237
Tel: (941) 263-6773
If you feel uncomfortable submitting your complaint directly to the police department, the Administrator of the Independent Police Advisory Panels can receive your complaint and forward it to the police department for initial investigation. As per Florida law and City Ordinance, neither the Administrator nor the Police Complaint Committee can investigate your complaint. They will, however, review the investigation once it is closed. You may submit your complaint over the phone or via mail or email at:
Office of the Police Advisory Panels
1565 1st Street, Sarasota FL 34236
Tel: (941) 263-6322
You may also file a complaint on the City’s website here
Can I remain anonymous?
You can remain anonymous when filing a complaint, however, for the complaint to be fully investigated, further information about what occurred may be required and it may become helpful or necessary for you to meet with an investigator to discuss what happened.
What happens after I make a complaint?
Every complaint and inquiry received by the SPD or Administrator is assigned for investigation. Serious allegations are investigated by the specially trained Internal Affairs and Complaints Section, while less serious allegations are assigned at the Division level to the Shift Commander.
During the investigation, you will be contacted by a member of the SPD to give your statement, and in some cases, attend an interview. The subject officer and other possible witnesses will also be interviewed.
At the conclusion of the investigation, you will be sent a letter containing the results of the investigation. Findings are classified as:
- Sustained: Complaint is supported by facts and circumstances that meet the standard of the preponderance of evidence.
- Not Sustained: Insufficient evidence to support the complaint.
- Exonerated: Incident occurred, however, the member(s) actions were justified.
- Unfounded: Incident did not occur or allegations are false.
If your complaint against an officer is sustained, the discipline may range from counseling and an instruction and cautioning to dismissal. Subject to contract, arbitration or court appeals, the final decision rests with the Chief of Police on all discipline matters. It should be noted that the City of Sarasota also operates under a progressive discipline policy.
Are there any checks and balances?
Any complaint submitted against a member of the Sarasota Police Department becomes public record after the investigation is closed. It is at this point that the Police Complaint Committee will meet to review the investigation. If the Committee is not happy with the outcome, a report is submitted to the Chief of Police for her future consideration.