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August 22, 2019
12:56 AM

Commendation and Complaint Procedure  


How to Commend a Department Employee

Citizens are able to commend a Department employee as a way of saying thanks for exemplary service or to let the employee know you appreciate their efforts in handling a problem. You may telephone the Chief's Office at 201.831.2000 send an e-mail or complete the form using the link below. We will be sure to forward your message of thanks to the employee and include it in their personnel file. Please include the employee's name; date, time, and the location of incident; and the circumstances surrounding the event.

E-mail a commendation here.


Download the commendation form here

Complaint Policy

The Mahwah Police Department is concerned about the level of police service provided to the community by our members. Through a continual program of in-service training and specialized seminars, members receive year-round instruction designed to improve their skills, and thus, improve the service provided to our community.

There will be times when citizens observe police conduct that is questionable. Citizens must be able to bring their legitimate concerns regarding police actions to the attention of the department for review.

Concerns over police actions are sometimes based on a misunderstanding of police policy and procedure or the law. Our supervisors are happy to discuss your concerns and explain a member's actions in a given situation.

Other times, malicious and false complaints are filed by individuals with a grudge against an officer for making an arrest or issuing a traffic citation. It is the responsibility of the Police Department to address all complaints and differentiate between false complaints and legitimate concerns. In fairness to our employee those citizens who make false allegations against police officers may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Registering a Complaint

A complaint may be filed by any individual.  Anonymous complaints are accepted with the understanding that a follow up investigation is more difficult when the complainant is unknown. Complaints may be registered at the Police Department via phone, E-Mail, regular mail or
fax.  Citizens have the option to complete the complaint form using the link below, and either drop it off, mailing it, or fax it to 201.831.2069.

Complaints can also be made via E-mail by clicking HERE.  

A complaint form, will include a sworn statement of the facts known to the person at that time.

Once received, all complaints are forwarded to Office of Professional Standards for review. Whenever possible, minor allegations are assigned to the member's supervisor for investigation.

Complaints of a more serious nature are returned to the Office of Professional Standards to initiate a formal Internal Affairs investigation.

Download the
complaint form here.

Investigative Process

Once a complaint has been received, the investigation begins. This includes sworn statements from all witnesses and the collection of evidence. Investigations are conducted under the stringent guidelines of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

All investigative reports are reviewed by the Office of Professional Standards to ensure completeness and objectivity prior to the case being closed. Reports must not reflect any personal opinion, but rather present an unbiased picture of the facts.

The final report is forwarded to the Chief of Police for evaluation and recommendations. Appropriate disciplinary action is taken, if necessary.

Those who have filed a complaint are notified by Office of Professional Standards, via mail, of the final disposition of the complaint.


The disposition of a complaint is classified as follows:

  • Sustained - Allegation is supported by sufficient evidence.
  • Not Sustained - Not guilty by insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.
  • Exonerated - Incident occurred but the member acted lawfully and/or properly.
  • Unfounded - Incident did not occur or employee was not involved.



There are several types of corrective actions which can be recommended for a sustained complaint.

  • Training
  • Formal Warning
  • Formal Reprimand
  • Suspension
  • Demotion
  • Termination


For more information on the complaint process or if you need assistance in filing a citizen complaint, please contact:

Office of Professional Standards
201.529.1000 Ext. 241 or

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