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Police complaint form too daunting, says new councilman

Recently appointed councilman and committee member Francisco Guerrero expressed concerns about the city’s police complaint form during the public safety sub-committee meeting Tuesday night.

Guerrero said a large legal warning on the first page of the three-page complaint form is daunting for people who may want to complain about police behavior. He said the form discourages public comment which in turn means that the police administration is not aware of potential problems on the force.

Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck defended the legal warning by noting that without it, the police cannot prosecute people who make false statements, which is a serious potential problem. He said that most people do not bother to fill out the form anyway.

Committee chair Don Vlieger agreed with Schenck about the warning, then questioned why there is a complaint form for police but not for other city employees. Vlieger said he gets more complaints about the public works department than the police.

Committee member Theresa Hancock said she agreed with Guerrero that the form may scare off people who want to complain. She said she gets a lot of complaints about police and urges them to fill out the form. She also said she gets more complaints about police than any other department.

The committee eventually decided to ask city staff to come up with a new form that will be discussed at the next public safety meeting.

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