Commendation and Complaint Procedures

Citizen Guide to Commendation and Complaint Procedures


The Dover Police Department adheres to a series of formalized, well defined policies and procedures that have been implemented to ensure the highest level of service to the members of our community. These policies and procedures provide certain guidelines that must be followed by our personnel when members of the community seek to commend, or lodge a complaint against, an employee. Adherence to these policies allows for the efficient provision of service and the intent of this guide is to provide you with a brief description of what to expect should you wish to initiate the commendation or complaint process.

Anthony F. Colarusso, Jr.
CHIEF OF POLICE

The Commendation Process

The Police Department maintains a standing Citation and Awards Committee that meets quarterly to review nominations for citations, awards and commendations. Some of these awards are in recognition of length of honorable service or educational achievements, while others are presented only upon nomination, or in recognition of, an exceptional act. The latter awards are identified below. It is important to note that both department employees and members of the community are eligible to nominate and receive awards from the committee.


The Medal of Honor: Presented for “gallantry at imminent personal hazard...above and beyond the call of duty.” This is the highest award presented by the committee.

The Medal of Valor: Presented for “extraordinary heroism...with an armed adversary at imminent personal hazard of life in the performance of duty.”

The Exceptional Service Award: Presented for a variety of contributions to the department “for an intelligent act materially contributing to a valued police accomplishment.”

The Civilian Service Award: Presented in the form of a plaque or certificate “to any member of the community that distinguishes him/herself by an act of heroism, assistance to a law enforcement officer or another citizen...”

In addition to these formal awards, employees may be recognized in a less formal manner by calling the office of the Chief of Police by telephone, or by sending written correspondence to the Chief of Police. These informal letters/comments are displayed within the department for all employees to read, and also become part of the individual employee’s personnel record.

Members of the community that wish to recognize private citizens or Police Department employees may do so by contacting the Office of the Chief of Police in person, by mail or by telephone. The address and telephone number are located on the back of this brochure.

The Complaint Process

A responsive citizen complaint review and investigative process ensures the integrity of the Police Department by allowing for the unbiased and thorough investigation of citizen complaints.

Complaints may be lodged against any employee of the department in person, in writing or anonymously. All complaints will be carefully investigated, although anonymous complaints are sometimes difficult to substantiate, as the complainant is not available for re-interview.

The complainant’s initial contact will always be with a Supervisory officer, who will initiate the complaint process. Some complaints (those that do not involve allegations of criminal activity by the employee) may be resolved at this step of the process.

More serious allegations will generally require assignment to a specially assigned Internal Affairs Investigator. In these longer investigations, complainants will be regularly updated on the progress of the investigation, which shall be completed within 14 days (unless an extension is granted by the Chief of Police).

Complainants will receive written notification of the results of the investigation from the Chief of Police. Adjudications are generally classified as follows;

Sustained:The allegation is substantiated.

Unfounded: The allegation is false.

Exonerated: The incident occurred, but the employee acted lawfully and properly.

Not Sustained: There is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the complaint.

If your complaint is sustained, you will be advised if disciplinary action was taken. However, as a result of confidentiality requirements you will not be advised of the specific action taken. You may be assured that any action taken will be fair and just based upon the allegation and in consideration of the past history of the employee.

Complaints may be registered by contacting the Police Department in person, in writing, or by telephone.

Dover Police Department
46 Chestnut Street
Dover, New Hampshire 03820-3396
(603)742-4646

We encourage your comments, suggestions and complaints, and strive to provide the best service possible to the community.

The Dover Police Department compiles statistics based on citizen complaints and internal investigations that are investigated during the year. The summary report describes the number of investigations and their dispositions. A copy of the summary report can be obtained by contacting Captain William Breault at 742-4646.

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