Professional Standards

The Professional Standards Unit has as its major function the receiving, processing, and investigation of complaints made against members of the Department. To ensure the public’s trust and maintain the Department’s integrity, this unit conducts immediate and objective investigations of all complaints. It is essential that all allegations of police misconduct are thoroughly and objectively investigated to assure the public that official misconduct will not be tolerated and, at the same time, provide a vehicle whereby officers unjustly accused can be vindicated.

Part of our recent efforts include the deployment of an "Early Intervention System" designed to identify officers who have had a predetermined number of complaints lodged within a set period. This system has been designed to help officers by providing retraining and/or counseling. In addition, it will help identify areas in our policies that may be outdated or in need of review.

The City of Cambridge also has a Police Review and Advisory Board which will investigate complaints, review policies and make recommendations to the Police Commissioner. This Board is independent of the police department and is located at 51 Inman Street., Cambridge, 617-349-6155. 

To Commend Exceptional Performance by a Police Employee

The best way to commend the actions of a Police Department employee is to write a brief letter describing the incident and the actions you think were exceptional. Information such as the date, time, and the location will help identify the employee if you do not know his/her name.

If you choose not to write, you may ask to speak to the employee’s supervisor and make a verbal commendation. Commendations received by the police commissioner are forwarded to the employee with a copy placed in his/her personnel file. Although our employees do not expect to be thanked for everything they do, recognition of exceptional services is always welcomed. This kind of feedback helps us know if we are doing a good job.

To File a Complaint Against a Police Employee

Complaints will be accepted from any source, whether made in person (125 Sixth St.), by mail, or over the phone (617-349-3384). You may also submit a complaint via e-mail.

The Professional Standards Unit, when it becomes aware of complaints or allegations against a department member, may conduct an independent investigation or may refer the complaint to the appropriate command for investigation to be reported back through channels.

The average case takes 30 to 60 days to complete, this would depend on the complexity of the case and availability of witnesses.

Once the investigation is concluded, a detective will notify you by mail of the findings.

Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement


Service Requests

Enter a service request via Commonwealth Connect for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc., click here