Citizen Complaint Process

Information on how to file a complaint

California Penal Code Section 832.5(a) requires that “Each department or agency in this state which employs peace officers shall establish a procedure to investigate citizen’s complaints against the personnel of such department or agency, and shall make a written description of the procedure available to the public.” The Sheriff’s policy/procedure is available upon request.

The purpose of our policy is to provide a prompt, just, open and expeditious disposition of citizen’s concerns regarding the conduct of Sheriff’s Office personnel. The Sheriff welcomes and encourages citizens to bring their concerns about the Department’s operations and the conduct of its employees to his attention.

A relationship of trust and confidence between members of the Sheriff’s Office and the community they serve is essential to effective law enforcement. The Sheriff’s Office encourages and fosters the respect, confidence and support of the community in order to effectively discharge its duties and responsibilities.

The public has a right to expect and receive fair and impartial law enforcement services. In providing these services, Deputy Sheriffs must be free to exercise their best judgment and initiate action in a responsible, lawful and impartial manner without fear of reprisal.

The Sheriff’s Office acknowledges its responsibility to provide a system of complaint and disciplinary procedures, which not only will subject Sheriff’s personnel to corrective action when they conduct themselves improperly, but also will protect them from unwarranted criticism when they discharge their duties properly.

All employees of the Department are required to accept required inquires or complaints from the public at any hour of the day. Minor complaints may be referred to the employee’s supervisor, however, major complaints will be referred to the on-duty watch commander or bureau commander. If a citizen wishes to make a formal written complaint, a complaint form will be provided either in person or by mail, or you may download a copy by clicking on either the English form or the Forma en espanol. The form is in pdf format and you will need Acrobat Reader to view the form. You may then complete the form at your convenience and either mail it in or bring it with you to the Sheriff’s Office

The completed complaint form should be returned to the Custodian of Records who will coordinate the investigation and be the citizen’s liaison with the Department during the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the Bureau Commander of the employee will notify the citizen in writing of the results thereof. The citizen may contact the Custodian to discuss the complaint at any time within the parameters of California Penal Code Section 832.7 which requires that Sheriff’s Office personnel records and citizen complaint information be kept confidential except by court order.

If, after an investigation is conducted and it is concluded that an employee has acted improperly, discipline may be imposed which may range from counseling to termination depending on the severity of the complaint.