INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION - Citizen Complaints
ABOUT US -The Internal Affairs Division is committed to preserving the integrity of the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and maintaining the respect and confidence of the public. The guiding principle by which this will be accomplished will be our unremitting efforts to provide fair, thorough, and complete investigations.
Investigators will perform their duties without personal bias, impartiality will be fundamental, and investigations will withstand the test of scrutiny.
The professionalism of our personnel and objectivity of their investigations will inspire confidence in our abilities, encourage open communication with the public, and promote an atmosphere of equal treatment for all.
CONTACT US -To file a complaint (or concern) against Sheriff’s Office personnel, please call (330) 480-5021. To file a compliment, contact us at (330) 480-5021 or to reach the Internal Affairs office, please call (330) 480-5021.
You may also reach IA by e-mailing [email protected]
COMPLIMENTS OR COMPLAINTS -The Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing quality service to all individuals in Mahoning County. Our work impacts the quality of life in our community. To show our promise to fairness, all employees are sworn to uphold the Sheriff’s Office code of ethics, rules, policies, directives, and orders as well as all city, state, and federal laws that relate to their employment.
Introduction to the Compliments & Complaints Procedure
To file a compliment on Sheriff’s Office personnel call the Field Operations Supervisor at (330) 480-5054 or Internal Affairs at (330) 480-5021
The citizen complaint system is designed to provide people with a way to express their concerns about Sheriff’s Office services. This system provides a fair, factual, and objective review of an individual’s concern. (NOTE: Complaints about the underlying reason for a traffic citation or criminal arrest must be resolved by the court and cannot be investigated as a complaint against a Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office employee.)
How to File a Complaint
First, decide what you think the employee did wrong. For example, do you believe:
~ An officer used too much force during an arrest?
~ An employee was rude to you?
~ An officer violated your rights?
~ You are a victim of racial profiling?
All complaints should be filed within 45 days of the incident, unless there are special circumstances. Complaints filed immediately improve the investigator’s chance of gathering factual information.
To file a complaint, contact the Sheriff’s Office by one of the following methods:
Telephone: Call (330) 480-4900 24 hours a day and ask to speak to Internal Affairs. If IA is unavailable, a supervisor will review your complaint. If your complaint needs an immediate response to collect evidence or witness statements, Internal Affairs will be contacted. Most complaints can be handled by filing the appropriate form and forwarded to Internal Affairs.
In Person: You can file your complaint in person at 110 5th Ave. Youngstown, Ohio between the hours of 7:00am and 3:00pm daily. You can speak directly with Internal Affairs or complete a citizen complaint form.
Mail/Fax/Email: You can send a written complaint by mail, fax, or email to the address below. It is important to include your name, address, and phone number so we can contact you about your complaint.
Complaint Form: Use this Citizen Complaint Form
Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office
Internal Affairs Division
110 5th Ave.
Youngstown, Ohio 44503
Email: [email protected]
Upon reviewing your complaint, the supervisor may be able to explain the employee’s actions to your satisfaction, or refer you to a supervisor who can. If this is the case, the matter will be closed. If your complaint needs to be investigated, it will be given to an investigator who will contact you within 72 hours. If you have not been contacted within 72 hours, please call (330) 480-5021 to make sure the investigator has your correct contact information.
Investigation of Your Complaint
The investigator will conduct a detailed investigation of the incident and gather statements from you and witnesses. Your assistance is expected and additional information may be needed. If the accusation is serious, you may be asked to take a polygraph test. This does not mean the investigator thinks you are lying, but wants to further prove the truthfulness of your accusation. When the investigation is complete, the investigator will give a written report to the Sheriff who will review the findings and take appropriate action if necessary.
Outcome of Your Complaint
You will be notified of the outcome of your complaint either by telephone or mail.
Your investigation will result in one of the following findings:
Sustained – The accusation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Depending on the severity of the action, a sustained finding may result in disciplinary action.
Not Sustained – There is not enough evidence to either prove or disprove the accusation.
Unfounded – The alleged conduct is refuted by a preponderance of the evidence.
Exonerated – The accusation is true, but the action taken by the employee was legal and
appropriate for the situation.
Cancelled for Cause – The alleged misconduct could not have occurred or the person named in the complaint is not a Sheriff’s Office employee or the complainant is identified as a chronic complainer or appears to have a mental deficiency and fails to provide any credible or plausible evidence of misconduct warranting further investigation.
False Complaints - The Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office is committed to investigating concerns of employee misconduct. Deputies can be targets of false complaints by people who seek revenge on them for doing their job. The Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2921.15) makes it a misdemeanor of the first degree to knowingly file a false complaint of misconduct against a peace officer. The Sheriff’s Office feels that people need to know the law exists and that when appropriate, the charge will be filed against violators of this law. Please remember, it is not only expensive to investigate false complaints, but can also affect an officer’s career. This information is given not to keep people from filing complaints, but to inform them of the law.