Frequently Asked Questions
The Office of Community Complaints is a non-police, civilian oversight agency established by Missouri State Statute in 1969. Please see the “History of the OCC” tab for the story of how our office started. We are proud to be the oldest continually operating civilian oversight office in the nation.
No, the OCC is not part of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. The OCC is an impartial agency that has been independent of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department since its inception in 1969.
Contact our office, and if directed, file a community complaint. Once filed, this office can take a look at the situation. We are also happy to refer you to someone within the KCPD that may be able to resolve your concerns before you need to file a complaint with us.
Yes, it does matter. By filing your complaint about a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, it helps the OCC identify trends and patterns and alerts the KCPD leadership about training and policy issues.
No. It is useful information, just like a physical description or car number, but you can still file a complaint without it. Please make note of the time, date, and location of occurrence, as all of these items help us locate the members you had contact with.
Any person, regardless of age, legal status, race, sex, or disability, may file a complaint with the OCC. You do not have to live or work in Kansas City to file a complaint. Should you need special accommodation to file a complaint, please Contact Us.
Complaints may be filed online, in person at any Kansas City, Missouri police station, in person at the Office of Community Complaints, at the Ad-Hoc Group Against Crime, Northland Neighborhoods Inc., and the Westside CAN Center. You may also fax in your complaint. There is a complaint form that must be completed. See “File a Complaint” for additional information.
No. The OCC can only process your complaint if it is against a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. Complaints about members employed by other police departments or agencies cannot be filed with or investigated by the OCC. However, we will attempt to refer you to the correct location where your complaint should be filed.
Those types of complaints are handled through the KCPD’s Office of the General Counsel (legal office). We are happy to facilitate contact with the OGC for you. However, if you are requesting money, repairs, or replacement of an item as part of your complaint, we will direct you to contact them once the complaint investigation is completed.
No. The complaint system and the court system are two separate and different things. The OCC cannot advise you or represent you on any legal matter, nor can we refer you to an attorney.
Fully investigated complaints will fall into one of three categories: Sustained (meaning we found a violation of police department policy or procedure); Not Sustained (meaning there was insufficient evidence to come to a conclusive recommendation); or Exonerated (meaning the incident did occur and was within the guidelines and standards of the Department, or that the incident did not occur at all).
The Office of Community Complaints, which was originally named the Office of Citizen Complaints, opened its doors on September 25, 1969.
Not at all. You may obtain complaint forms at any Kansas City, Missouri Police Station, but forms are also located at the Ad-Hoc Group Against Crime, the Westside CAN Center, and Northland Neighborhoods, Inc. Please visit our “Locations Where Complaints Can Be Filed” subsection under the File a Complaint tab.
Yes, minors are eligible to file a complaint.
We recommend you file your complaint as soon as possible. By policy, complaints must be filed within 180 days of the date of the incident, and in no case more than 1 year from the date of the incident. The Executive Director is the only person who can accept a complaint beyond the 180-day time limit.
No. Since we are not part of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, we do not have the computer access to check your immigration status or criminal record. Should you have outstanding warrants, you will be advised of that by the investigating detective. Having tickets or warrants will not prohibit you from providing your formal statement regarding your complaint.
Please use the “Check Complaint Status” tab on the main homepage of the website. This will send a message to the office staff. Please allow 2 business days for a reply.
Please contact us. We consider education a large part of our mandate. We are available to attend meetings both virtually and in-person and can give presentations on various topics.
Education is a large part of our outreach focus, and we speak to civic and community groups on a regular basis, as well as schools. We have developed several resource items for the community. We also report on trends to the Board of Police Commissioners, review all policies that are developed through the KCPD, have a social media presence, and sit on numerous task forces and focus groups across the metropolitan area. Members of the Office also sit on committees with the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, a national police oversight organization.
In order to investigate your complaint fully and fairly, we need to get many more details than are ever written down on a complaint form. This also allows you to expand upon what you have written in your complaint form.
We seek to conduct investigations that are thorough and complete. This means all information and possible evidence pertaining to the incident that prompted your complaint must be gathered – not just your statement. This entails interviewing the subject members, any potential witnesses (both civilian and Department members), obtaining camera footage (from security, residential, and in-car/body cam cameras), reviewing medical records if needed, viewing police reports, and much more.
You do. It does not matter if you are presently incarcerated or not. Please be aware that complaints must still be timely when filed. We are happy to mail you complaint forms.
A full investigation and complaint analysis by the OCC can take upwards of three months (on the short end) to a year. It all depends on the complexity of the situation, the number of complainants, witnesses, and Department members that need to be interviewed, and the amount of video, audio, reports, and other documentation that must be gathered and reviewed. By policy, the Internal Affairs Unit has 60 calendar days to complete an investigation, and OCC has 45 days to complete its review and analysis of the complaint file.
We do have a face-to-face mediation program that is available to complainants. It is voluntary for all parties, so if the Department member does not wish to participate, we can still send your complaint for an investigation or to a supervisor for handling.
Another element of our mediation program is called conciliation, where we forward your complaint to the member’s supervisor, who conducts a smaller scale investigation. If you are interested in handling your complaint in this manner, please advise a member of the Office.
No. The court system is completely separate from the complaint system. One has no impact on the other. Further, the OCC does not evaluate the validity of a ticket or arrest, which is what the court system is for.
Police reports can be obtained online, in-person at any KCPD station, or by mail. Please visit https://www.kcpd.org/about/services/report-and-video-requests/ for additional information.
Please visit https://www.kcpd.org/about/services/report-and-video-requests/ for information on how to purchase a copy of a Department-owned video.
The Office of Community Complaints is a longtime organizational member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (“NACOLE”). There is a tremendous amount of information on their website – www.nacole.org.