Citizen Complaint Investigative & Hearing Process

Types Of Complaints

Citizen Complaint is charged with investigation of serious interventions by City of Cincinnati police officers, including but not limited to:

  • Discharge of Firearms: Any and all discharging of a firearm by a Cincinnati Police Officer either intentional or accidental. This includes accidental discharge of a firearm whether the projectile strikes anything or not and intentional shooting at a person or animal.
  • Death in Custody: A person who dies while in police custody whether or not the police officer's action contributed to the death. "In Custody" is defined as under the control of the police. The control does not have to be an arrest or physical possession of a person.
  • Improper Pointing of Firearms: When an officer draws his firearm (weapon) from the holster and points it in the direction of or at a person(s).
  • Improper Search: The search of one's property (residence, vehicle, etc.) or person without just cause or a search warrant. The search is not unreasonable if it is incident to an arrest or written permission is granted to conduct the search. The courts have granted exceptions to search without a search warrant and each specific incident should be reviewed.
  • Improper Seizure: The seizure of one's property without the permission of the owner/possessor or a warrant. The courts have granted exceptions to a seizure without a search warrant and each specific incident should be reviewed.
  • Discrimination: Contact or action by an officer that was motivated by the race of a person.
  • Use of Force: Officer(s) use of some type of force whether physical, instrumental, or physical contact restricting the movement of a person.
  • Excessive Force: Officer(s) use of some type of force whether physical or by instrument that is beyond what is reasonably necessary.

Citizens can file a complaint in person, by telephone, by mail or on our website. CCA will accept complaints on behalf of third parties.


All complaints within CCA jurisdiction will be investigated and be assigned to an investigator within 48 business hours. Each complaint, excluding allegations of criminal misconduct against an officer, will be directed to CCA regardless of where it was filed initially.

A complaint that does not fall within its jurisdiction may be referred to the Cincinnati Police Department's Citizen Complaint Resolution Process (CCRP). 

The investigator will begin by contacting the complainant, witnesses, involved officers, and collecting evidence. An investigative report will be prepared and assembled including a summary of statements and/or evidence obtained.

The complete investigation will be forwarded to the Director for review. The Director submits the final report to the board for a review hearing.

The complainant and the involved officers will receive a copy of the completed investigation and the board's review hearing date.

The board hearing is open to the public and affords the opportunity for involved parties to address any concerns or comments regarding the investigation. Public comments are limited to three minutes per speaker.

The board meets once a month to review the recommendations and findings for the completed investigations. Each allegation contained in the investigative report will have a recommended finding.

The board will vote to approve or disapprove the findings and recommendations. The board may also make additional comments, recommendations, and changes regarding the investigation.

The board may request a complaint be returned to the CCA for further investigation. In this instance, the complaint will be resubmitted to the board for review on a later date.

The findings and recommendations are submitted to the City Manager. The City Manager will agree, disagree, or agree in part with any of the findings and recommendations.

The complainant will be notified when a final disposition has been reached.