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In the instance that you feel you were in some way mistreated by an officer, felt that their actions were unreasonable, they were rude to you or that they violated Department policy, you should contact a McFarland Police Supervisor. Not every complaint will rise to the level of a formal complaint, and the supervisor will speak with you to determine the nature, scope, and depth of your complaint. He or she will then direct you to the best course of action based upon the facts of the situation.
Note that a complaint is not valid solely because you received a citation or were arrested and you do not agree with the officer’s decision; these situations need be settled through the court process. The complaint process is intended primarily for situations involving your perception of the officer’s conduct, adherence to department policy, and observance of your constitutional rights as a citizen.
The McFarland Police Department takes valid complaints very seriously and, in situations where such measures are necessary, will conduct an in-depth internal investigation. Because such a complaint against an officer is a very serious matter, you should also be aware that Wisconsin State Statute 946.66 provides for a serious penalty for any individual that files a false complaint regarding the conduct of a police officer. When appropriate, it is advisable to take some time to calm down and thoroughly think through what occurred prior to filing such a complaint.
Requests for copies of police reports, accident reports, or other police records are made directly to the Police Department by filling out the Police Records Request Form.
Once received, the form is reviewed by a Department Supervisor who is specially trained in Wisconsin Open Records Law. You will be notified by the Department as to if the record can be released, and if so, when it will be available to you. There will typically be a nominal fee assessed for copies of documents.
There are situations in which you may need to have your fingerprints taken such as out-of-country travel, certain licenses and permits, or for various employment situations. The McFarland Police Department will provide this service to residents of the Village for a $10 fee. In very limited circumstances, we may also provide this service to non-residents for a $15 fee.
It is recommended that you contact the Department at 608-838-3151 to make an appointment. Requests for fingerprinting that are made without an appointment will be serviced in accordance with the availability of staff at that particular time.
While instances of police impersonators are rare, unfortunately they do occur. Legitimate police vehicles in Wisconsin typically have both red and blue emergency lights and are equipped with siren apparatus. Most police vehicles will have numerous emergency lights, and it is relatively rare for a police vehicle to have just one or two emergency lights, such as a single dashboard light.
If you have legitimate concern that you are being pulled over by a police impersonator, there are a few things that you can do to stay safe:
It’s important to understand that once an officer has prepared a citation, it cannot be voided. Citations are created by in-car computers that are directly linked to the Department of Transportation, and once created cannot be taken back. It’s important to refrain from becoming argumentative, disorderly or abusive. If you believe that you have been unfairly cited, DO NOT make this argument on the side of the road.
Your best option is to avail yourself of your rights in the courtroom. The court date and time is listed on the citation. You have the option to plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. You may also speak with the Village Prosecutor prior to rendering a plea. A not guilty plea will result in a subsequent trial. Once the citation is issued, all questions pertaining to court proceedings should be directed to the Village Clerk of Courts at 608-838-3764.
Generally, the Chief of Police will not void a citation; this must be done by the Village Prosecutor. In the instance that your complaint is more so regarding the conduct of an officer, or you believe an officer has in some way violated a Department policy, these would be appropriate situations in which to contact a police supervisor.
The McFarland Police Department does have a Citizen Complaint policy and procedure (PDF). To learn more about this process please visit the Complaints and Feedback page.
Frequently, both landlords and tenants have questions regarding their rights and responsibilities. More information may be found in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection’s Landlord / Tenant Guide.