Stemming directly from the form¶
Questions about Notaries¶
- Does the notarization cost money? (I know it usually does)
- What specific law states that the form must be notarized? It isn’t state law because Albuquerque does not require it (see www.cabq.gov/iro/pdf/CPCForm2.pdf ).
- What exactly is the point of the notarization? It guarantees ONLY that the person filling out the form is the person who is signing it. It makes NO guarantee about the content, beyond the normal guarantee when you sign a document. Given that very quickly an investigator will determine if the person who filled out the form is indeed who the complainant is, it seems that the notarization is a complication, barrier, and beyond that, unnecessary. It necessarily limits the possible places that a citizen can submit a form, and unfairly treats those without the proper identification to go through the process (the homeless, undocumented people, etc).
- Description of vehicle, uniform, and further descriptive prompts could be helpful (height, weight, hair color, etc), when asking for identification of officer.
- Narrative (write what happened) is quite vague, and would probably be better if it were a lot more extensive of a prompt. Elements from Albuquerque form: “Please feel free to include any other
relevant information or items (pictures, witness statements, etc.)”, “Be as specific as possible about the details such as exactly what was said, time and dates of incident.”
- The response spaces are ridiculously short. Should be at least one more page (so there is at least a page for narrative, and more space for all the other stuff). And, double side! :P
- Err, it is no longer 19__ – it hasn’t been for about a decade. Should be changed.
- It might be better to have it say “Telephone number where you can be reached (days/hours):”, so that for example, someone who has no phone or address could put the peace center from 3-7 on tuesdays, and just plan on being there every week to get the call… But equally this makes the home/work dichotomy more flexible, as Work for some people might mean night, etc.
Locations / Accessibility of forms¶
- This has already been talked about, but the forms should be available and able to be filled out at many locations. These locations should be well publicized, and have the forms easily accessible.
- What might be good is to have some sort of training (volunteer probably) of people running these places, so they can answer questions about the complaint process and help people go through it.
- In many places (I believe providence works this way – www.providencepolice.com/internal_affai... these forms can be submitted electronically, or at the very least, have them be able to be faxed in. This would allow those who are scared of encountering the officer who is the cause of the complaint when trying to fill it out.
Side note – this actually happened to me! An officer had taken my flashlight, pocket knife, and multitool. Annoyed (obviously) by this, as by law any knife under 3 inches is NOT a weapon, and a flashlight is NEVER a weapon, I went to the police station to fill out a complaint form. And met the guy standing outside! However, this actually worked out OK, as I talked to him first, asking nicely for them back, and then went in and talked to IA people, and then publicly started filling out a form, at which point he SAW me, talked to the lady who handed out forms, first threatened that for filling out a false form I could go to federal prison for 5 years, and then came back and talked to me, asked to talk to me in another room, and told me how he could possibly try to get the stuff back for me (and did, in a sketchy manner). BUT – the point is, it is not a good system, because it is a very real possibility that you can/will encounter the police officer, and they will KNOW why you are there… (and providence is a lot bigger than vegas, so it would be even more common for it to happen here).
- Lots of people in this town must speak Spanish, and even if they DO speak English, they should have the option of communicating in their preferred language. And there should be cops who can understand Spanish too.
- If it is not possible for the form to be filled out in Spanish (because IA people don’t know it, etc), at the very least the instructions should be available in both… Of course clearly indicated that ‘se debe escribir en ingles’.