The Internal Affairs Office
The mission of the Unit is quite simple...
- To protect the public trust.
The mission of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department is to provide a safe and orderly environment in our City through professionalism and dedication while building and maintaining an active partnership with the community we serve. The men and women of the Police Department understand that our greatest resource and asset is the support and assistance that is given by our community. This “partnership” between our citizens and the Police Department is something that we must constantly strive to protect, and it is a responsibility that is shared by every member of the Department.
The mission of the Office of Internal Affairs is to protect the public trust and to maintain the integrity of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. The policy of the Office of Internal Affairs is to conduct thorough, fair and objective investigations.
What does the Internal Affairs Unit do?
• Investigate all allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force, allegations of criminal misconduct and allegations of false arrest.
• Investigate all allegations of racial profiling or biased based policing.
• Investigate all allegations of intra-departmental misconduct including sexual harassment and complaints involving hostile work environments.
• The Unit receives, processes and coordinates all internal and external complaints.
• The Unit conducts a review of all uses of force, regardless if a complaint has been filed.
• Members of the Unit respond to scenes where an officer has discharged his or her firearm, as well as other serious incidents, and then conduct investigations to determine if the actions are in accordance within the Department’s policy and procedure guidelines.
• The Office of Internal Affairs coordinates all discipline and grievance procedures with the City’s Labor Relations attorney, the Union and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.
• The Unit reviews and coordinates all proposed disciplinary action against employees.
• The Internal Affairs Unit coordinates and attends all meetings with the Citizens' Police Review Board.
• The Office of Internal Affairs maintains all applicable statistical data and continually conducts an analysis of the information in an effort to identify trends. A recommendation of the appropriate corrective action is then made.
To whom does the Office of Internal Affairs report?
The Internal Affairs Unit reports directly to the Chief of Police.
How do I make a complaint?
Complaints can be made in person, by electronic mail, via telephone, or in person. They can be made directly to the Office of Internal Affairs or any Department employee. Complaints concerning discourtesy or inadequate service will generally be forwarded to the employee’s command for investigation. They will then be thoroughly reviewed by the Office of Internal Affairs once they are completed. Complaints concerning unnecessary or excessive force, false arrest and complaints that are criminal in nature will be retained in the Office of Internal Affairs for investigation. In most situations, a sworn, taped statement will be requested. Remember, simply relate the facts and do not attempt to embellish or add to your complaint. Be prepared to provide the investigator with witness information. You will be treated professionally and courteously.
What happens when I make a complaint?
All complaints will be thoroughly examined. There are four possible dispositions and they are as follows:
• Not Sustained - There is insufficient evidence to confirm or refute the complaint.
• Sustained - The allegation is true. The action of our employee was inconsistent with the agency’s policy.
• Exonerated - The allegation is true, however the action of our employee was justified and/or consistent with the agency’s policy.
• Unfounded - The allegation is either false or there is no credible evidence to support it.
All decisions involving disciplinary action will be made in conjunction with the City’s Labor Relations Office and the City Manager’s Office. Complaints that involve a possible criminal violation are sent to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for review. Once these processes are complete, select cases are sent to the Citizens' Police Review Board for their review and recommendation.
Is there any risk to you when you make a complaint?
No. You will not be subjected to intimidating or any other improper behavior. However, if you intentionally make a false complaint against an officer or employee, you may be prosecuted criminally and/or held civilly liable.
Do police officers have rights when an allegation is made against them?
Yes, Officers are protected by Florida State Statute and their labor agreement, which provide that they shall not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats from supervisors or unreasonable periods of interrogation. They have a right to have counsel or union representation during the investigation.
The task of policing today’s society is demanding and challenging. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department will continue to demand the highest standards from its employees. We will work to maintain your trust and support while developing a real working partnership with our community.
Fort Lauderdale Police Department
Office of Internal Affairs
1300 West Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312
Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.