What do I do if I'm stopped by the police?
The ACLU of Washington State has a created a publication with tips on how to handle a police encounter. View the handy wallet-sized “What to do if You're Stopped by the Police” card to print and carry with you or view the information in a larger format.
How do I file a complaint?
You can file a complaint in writing, by telephone, via fax, online or by visiting our office in person.
Is there a time limit?
The Office of Police Ombudsman has adopted a one year statute of limitations and must receive complaints within twelve months of the alleged misconduct.
Is there a cost involved?
There is no charge for using the services of the Office of Police Ombudsman.
Can I compliment an officer?
Yes, you can file a commendation in writing, by telephone, via fax, online or by visiting our office in person.
How is the investigation handled?
When you contact our office, details of your complaint will be received by the Ombudsman and forwarded within 3 days to the Internal Affairs Division of Spokane Police Department for investigation. After a timely, thorough and objective investigation by the Police Department, the investigation will be returned to the Ombudsman to certify within 5 days of receipt that the report is thorough and objective. Once certified, the report is returned to the Office of the Chief of Police for disposition.
This process is outlined in the Office of Police Ombudsman Complaint Flow Chart (PDF 55 KB).
Will I know the results?
Yes. You will be contacted in writing by the Chief of Police once the investigation is completed.
What problems does the Ombudsman deal with?
If you feel an employee of the Spokane Police Department did not treat you properly or violated a policy, you may contact our office with your concerns.
Are there matters that cannot be investigated?
The Ombudsman has jurisdiction regarding the City of Spokane Police Department and cannot investigate complaints outside this jurisdiction.
Can the Ombudsman get my charges dropped?
The Ombudsman's office cannot give legal advice or assist with a person's criminal defense.
What if I have a concern or want to ask a question?
The Ombudsman is ready to answer any question a person might have about Spokane Police Department activities. This is called an “inquiry”.
What if I have already filed a complaint with the Spokane Police Department?
If you filed a complaint with the Spokane Police Department before contacting the Office of Police Ombudsman, we ask that you wait until the Police Department has completed their investigation into your complaint. Once you receive notice that the Police Department has closed your case and if you are not satisfied with the outcome of their investigation, you may contact the Office of Police Ombudsman to discuss your concerns.
Office of Police Ombudsman
1st Floor, City Hall
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane, WA 99201
Regular Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday through Thursday