How to File a Complaint Against an MPD Employee

You may contact us via phone, written, online or in person. The Madison Police Department is committed to investigating complaints in an open and fair manner with truth as its primary objective. Therefore, this Department will accept complaints against its employees, policies or procedures, and investigate all such complaints to the appropriate disposition.

Complaint Process (Proceso de resolución de reclamos)

You can do one of the following:

  • Submit online
  • Download a PDF version (en Español) and send to Madison Police Department, Chief's Office, GR-21, City-County Building, 211 S. Carroll Street, Madison, WI 53703
  • Call (608) 266-6502 to talk to the Professional Standards & Internal Affairs Lieutenant, or call (608) 266-4590 to speak to the Professional Standards & Internal Affairs Sergeant.
  • Stop by the Chief's Office in GR-21 of the City-County Building, 211 S. Carroll Street, Madison, WI 53703

Complaints placed after 4:00 p.m. or on weekends should be directed to the Officer-in- Charge at (608) 266-4418. Complaint forms are also available at any District Station or Madison Public Library branch.

You may choose to file your complaint separately with the Police and Fire Commission (PFC). This can be done by contacting PFC Attorney Scott Herrick at, the Mayor's Office, or the City Clerk's Office.

Your complaint will be filed with the Professional Standards & Internal Affairs Unit, within the Executive Office. You will receive confirmation that your complaint has been received, and an indication as to whether your complaint will or will not be investigated. If you have questions or would like to check on the status of your complaint you can call the Professional Standards & Internal Affairs Office at: (608) 266-6502/(608) 266-4590

Information Needed

The supervisor assigned to investigate your complaint will ask for the following information (If filing a written or online complaint, please include the following information):

  • Your name, address and phone number;
  • The date and time of the incident about which you are complaining;
  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses, if available;
  • If the incident involves an arrest, the name, address, and phone number of the person arrested, if known;
  • The name, badge number, and car number of the officer(s) involved, if known;
  • Details of the incident that prompted your complaint.

Upon completion of an investigation you will be notified of the outcome (most likely via phone). One of the following determinations will be made:

  • Unfounded: The investigation conclusively showed the incident complained of did not occur, or that the individual named in the complaint was not involved.
  • Exonerated: The incident complained about did occur, but was justified, lawful and proper.
  • Non-Sustained: The investigation failed to reveal enough evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation
  • Sustained: The investigation disclosed enough evidence to clearly prove the allegation.

The Chief of Police reviews all findings. When a finding of "sustained" is reported, the Chief will decide whether to take immediate corrective action or to forward the report to the commanding officer of the individual named in the complaint.

Appropriate corrective action, which may include counseling, training, verbal reprimand, written reprimand, suspension, demotion, or dismissal, may be taken.

The Chief of Police will make the final determination. An aggrieved party who wants to appeal the Chief's decision may do so by notifying the Madison Police and Fire Commission Attorney Scott Herrick at


Typically complaints are reviewed, investigated and all parties are notified of the outcome within 60-90 days. Certain cases may be extended beyond this timeframe with approval from the Chief of Police.

Complaints will not be investigated if the complaint is received more than ninety (90) days after the alleged incident, except if the complaint involves an alleged criminal violation, or the complainant can show good cause for not making the complaint within the specified time limit.

If you have any further questions about the complaint process; please contact the Professional Standards & Internal Affairs Sergeant at (608) 266-4590.