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54.2 Citizen Complaints against Police per 100,000 Population

Goal 8 - DCC 49 - Indicator 49.2

This indicator is part of Protected civil rights.

Indicator description:

This indicator notes the rate of citizen complaints filed against municipal police officers per 100,000 citizens. The number of police complaints in each jurisdiction is affected by many factors, including the training and professionalism of police officers, call volume and the number of citizen-police contacts, the ease with which citizens may file a complaint, the citizen's perception that the complaint will be investigated in a fair manner, and time limits within which complaints must be filed, among other factors. In Albuquerque, complaints may be filed via e-mail, letter or facsimile, but must be filed within 90 days of the incident complained about.

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Why is this indicator relevant?

Studies suggest that complaints against the police are linked to civil rights, and by extension, the extent to which government is working to protect the civil rights of citizens. On the one hand, filing a complaint against a police officer or any government official is an exercise of one's civil rights, however, a percentage of all police complaints stem from incidents in which the citizen's civil rights were violated. Most complaints against the police do not rise to the level of an allegation of civil rights violations, but rather deal with allegations of discourtesy or other policy violations. Only a very small percentage of all such complaints result in civil rights lawsuits being filed. Allegations of civil rights violations committed by police officers which have the most egregious facts sometimes go directly to court, without the filing of a citizen complaint against the officer. Such cases would be included in Indicator 49.1 Civil Rights Violation Lawsuit Filings.

Data Sources:

Citizen Police Complaint Data was obtained directly from individual police departments. Oklahoma City does not differentiate between citizen filed and internally initiated complaints, and is therefore not included.

What can we tell from the data?

  • Complaints filed against Albuquerque Police Officers have remained stable over the past four years, but are up since 2003.
  • Compared to peer cities, Albuquerque's rate of citizen police complaints per population is lower than average.


For Help in understanding this page, see Understanding Indicators.

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