Like other law enforcement officers, members of the Kansas City Police Department have the authority routinely to make arrests, conduct searches and do other things that ordinary citizens would have no right to do.

However, even though they have some special privileges so they can protect themselves and do their jobs, officers still must fully respect the civil rights of those people whom they encounter.

They must not abuse their authority by, for example, engaging in racial or other discrimination, or violating a person’s constitutional or other rights.

Police officers can face discipline, termination for civil rights violations

Citizens who feel that a police officer acted inappropriately have a number of options. They can, for example, register a complaint with what is called the Office of Community Complaints.

This Office helps oversee the conduct of Kansas City police officers. In order to ensure that a concerned citizen has a fair shake, the Office is made up of civilians.

After receiving a complaint that is with merit, the Office can recommend a police officer be disciplined or even fired for violating a person’s civil rights.

There are some limits to what this Office can and cannot do. While the Office can recommend disciplinary action, it is ultimately up to policing authorities to approve any final decisions.

Two, the Office’s involvement does not mean that the police will discontinue an investigation or that a person’s charges will get automatically dropped or reduced.

Many times, an officer’s civil rights violation can lead to the dismissal of criminal charges against the officer’s victim or to other actions. For instance, a court may disallow important pieces of the state’s evidence.

However, it takes more than filing an administrative complaint to get this relief. Someone who feels that the police treated him or her unfairly should evaluate his or her legal options carefully.