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Complaints process

The Richmond Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) values the feedback it receives from the community and is dedicated to providing the best emergency and non-emergency communication service possible to all of Richmond’s citizens. Our Emergency Communications Officers are carefully selected and given the best training. The collective work of all DEC staff members meets and exceeds national industry standards. On May 4, 2019, the DEC achieved national accreditation by Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). Less than 2 percent of all emergency communications center in the United States achieve accreditation.

Incident in progress:

If you are not receiving the response that you need, please call 804-646-5100 and ask to speak to the on-duty communications supervisor, who can follow up in real-time.

Incident no longer in progress:

If you did not receive the response that you need and you choose to make a complaint, we follow a formal process to ensure that your complaint is thoroughly investigated. When you file a complaint, you will be asked to provide your name, address and telephone number where you can be reached, and the details of your complaint, including date, time, location, and name of the involved employee(s) if known.

To file a complaint after the incident, please call 804-646-5911. You also may contact the Department Director Stephen Willoughby at 804-646-5142 or email

When we receive your complaint, the Management Team will send a letter to inform you that your complaint has been received and assigned for investigation.

Internal investigations

The Richmond Department of Emergency Communications investigates all complaints received, and compiles statistical summaries based on the investigations that are made available to the public and agency employees.

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
so far
Total Investigations 23 10 28 37 3
Substantiated 20 5 18 16 0
Unfounded 3 5 10 21 3
Percentage Substantiated 87% 50% 64% 43% 0%
Percentage Unfounded 13% 50% 36% 57% 100%