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Police Hero

Citizen Complaint Process

It is the intention of the Fargo Police Department to balance openness and accessibility in receiving complaints with fairness and respect for its employees. The complaint process is not a mechanism for retaliation, spurious claims, personal vendettas or petty grievances. The purpose of the process is to provide citizens, as well as members of the department, with the opportunity to resolve problems, protect individual rights, assure high-quality and consistent service, and ensure improved employee and departmental performance when necessary.

How to File a Complaint

  • In Person: During normal business hours, citizens may come to police headquarters located at 125 25 St. N. to file a complaint. Complaints will be received by the supervisor responsible for the Professional Accountability Unit. If this supervisor is not available, or if it is after hours, a weekend or a holiday, an on-duty supervisor will receive complaints.
  • By Phone: 701.241.8175
  • By Fax: 701.297.7789
  • By Email
  • By Mail: Re: Professional Accountability Unit, 105 25 St. N., Fargo, ND 58102

Complaint Investigation

Complaints will be thoroughly investigated. You may be asked to provide additional information, answer questions, explain your concerns or give feedback on how you think your complaint may be resolved.

Depending on the complexity of the case and the current workload of the staff, some investigations may take longer than others. Every reasonable effort will be made to complete the investigation within 90 days. Many complaints are resolved in a shorter period of time. You are welcome to call the Office of Professional Standards any time to get an updated status of the complaint.

When the investigation is completed, you will be notified of the outcome. Completed investigations are submitted to the Office of the Chief of Police for further action if appropriate.

Disposition of Complaints

  • Sustained: The investigation revealed sufficient evidence to support the allegations.
  • Not sustained: The investigation failed to disclose sufficient evidence to support the allegation.
  • Exonerated: The acts providing the basis for the complaint occurred, but they were justified, lawful, and proper.
  • Unfounded: The investigation proved the allegation is false and did not occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who may file a complaint?

Any person may file a complaint regardless of age, location of residence, nationality or personal characteristics.

What are the time limitations for filing a complaint?

It is important that complaints be filed as soon as possible. Complaints alleging misconduct (excluding allegations of criminal conduct) must be filed within six (6) months of the incident.

Can a complaint be withdrawn once it is filed?

A complaint may be withdrawn at any time, however depending on the nature of the complaint, the investigation may continue and discipline may be implemented if appropriate.

When will the department refuse to take complaints?

Unless approved by the Chief of Police, the department will not receive anonymous complaints, complaints disputing the legality of an arrest, or complaints from persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs.