Filing a complaint
1. A complaint is filed and classified
A complaint can be filed through our website, in-person at any command, or through our MTAPD IAB Hotline at (212) 878-1278. When a complaint is filed, it is received by the MTA Internal Affairs Bureau and reviewed.
The complaint is categorized into type, logged into our database, and assigned a supervisor to be the primary investigator.
2. A complaint is investigated
The assigned supervisor will try to contact the person who reported the complaint. This will happen within 7 days of the complaint being received and reviewed.
People who file a complaint (or complainants) may be contacted via phone to verify details about the reported incident. They may also be asked to appear for an in-person interview. All discussions with the investigator are confidential and will not be shared with any party involved.
All complaints about a member of service are investigated through an administrative process, unless there are findings that suggest criminality. In that case the incident will be referred to a legal body for investigation. A complainant can expect to get updates if the case proceeds in that direction.
The investigator will conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation, which includes gathering evidence, taking statements, collecting documentation, or any other measures required to complete the complaint process.
The investigative process can take up to 90 days to complete.
Investigations conducted under an administrative banner require a “preponderance of the evidence." This means that if the greater weight of evidence — more than 50% — supports the allegation, the recommended finding is substantiated.
Based on the circumstances and the evidence, the investigator will categorize the complaint as one of the following:
- Substantiated: Sufficient credible evidence to believe that the subject officer committed the act of misconduct contained in an allegation.
- Unsubstantiated: The available evidence is insufficient to make a determination of substantiated, exonerated, or unfounded.
- Unfounded: The available evidence indicates that the act which is the basis of the allegation did not occur.
- Exonerated: The subject officer was found to have committed the act alleged, but the act was determined to be lawful and proper.
All allegations that are categorized as “substantiated” will continue through a corrective process. This may include discipline, training, or instruction, depending on the severity of the circumstances at hand.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the reporter will be notified of the disposition of their complaint.