The San Felipe Police Department is committed to providing quality service to all individuals and we understand our work impacts the quality of life in our community. To show our promise to fairness, all employees are sworn to uphold the department’s vision, rules, policies, directives, and orders as well as all city, state, and federal laws that relate to their employment. Please follow the instructions below to file a complaint.
Complaints about the underlying reason for a traffic citation or criminal arrest must be resolved by the court and might not be investigated as a complaint against a SFPD employee.
HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT:
Questions about employee conduct or allegations of misconduct, to include racial profiling, will be classified and processed for investigation, whether initially presented in person, by telephone, or in writing.
Whatever the source of the question, the supervisor or police official taking the complaint, will document the matter on a Police Personnel Inquiry/Complaint Form.
WHAT SHOULD YOU INCLUDE:
Give as much detail as you can about your complaint.
-Describe what happened.
-Give the name or badge number if the officer(s) concerned (if you know them).
-Include where and when the incident took place.
-Give the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses (if you have them).
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT:
Normally a supervisory officer will visit you on an informal basis to tell you about the complaints procedure and to give you the opportunity to discuss your complaint. Whenever possible, the supervisory officer will explain why the officer, subject to the complaint, took a certain course of action. In addition, the supervisory officer will explain what the officer’s duties were, what the police powers were, and the context in which the officer acted. Experience has shown that many people are unaware of the limitations of police authority and that an explanation provided by a supervisory officer may help to clarify the situation.
If you are satisfied with the explanation given by the supervisory officer, your complaint will not proceed any further. You may be asked to sign a release confirming that you are satisfied with this disposition. A record will be maintained of what has taken place. Any allegation of criminal conduct or policy violation would not be subject to informal resolution.
FALSE OR MALICIOUS COMPLAINTS:
The San Felipe Police Department is committed to investigating concerns of employee misconduct. Officers can be targets of false complaints by people who seek revenge on them for doing their job. Anyone who knowingly makes a false statement to a police officer may be subject to criminal charges. The San Felipe Police Department feels that people need to know these laws exist and, when appropriate, criminal charges will be filed against violators of these laws. Please remember, it is not only expensive to investigate false complaints, but it can also affect an officer’s career. This information has not been provided to discourage people from filing honest complaints but rather to inform them of the potential legal ramifications of false ones.
WHO WILL INVESTIGATE YOUR COMPLAINT:
Internal Affairs is a staff function of the Office of the Chief of Police. The function is staffed only as there are cases requiring action. The selection of an official to investigate a complaint will be made by the Chief of Police or his designee.
HOW WILL YOUR COMPLAINT BE INVESTIGATED:
The investigating officer may:
-Speak to you;
-Speak to the officer(s) you’ve filed a complaint against;
-Speak to any witnesses;
-Review related information such as citations, offense reports, audiotapes or videotapes.
On the receipt of a report regarding a criminal offense the investigator will:
-Initiate a criminal offense report;
-Collect evidence, if it is available.
This information is necessary for the investigator to assess the validity of the evidence against the officer(s) concerned. You may be asked to go to the District Attorney’s Office and speak with an investigator. After looking into the case, the District Attorney will decide whether or not to refer the case to the Grand Jury.
POLICE MISCONDUCT PROCEEDINGS:
The employee you have named in your complaint may not have committed a criminal offense but he/she may have behaved in a manner considered inappropriate for an employee. In these circumstances the Chief of Police, in conjunction with the officer’s immediate supervisors may order:
-Verbal counseling and/or;
-Written performance advisory and/or;
-Written reprimand and/or;
-Demotion or suspension without pay and/or;
-Dismissal from the Department.
WHAT IF YOU’RE NOT SATISFIED WITH THE HANDLING OF THE COMPLAINT:
It is important that you allow the Chief of Police a reasonable opportunity to carry out an investigation into your complaint and respond in writing to you. If at the conclusion of the investigation you are not satisfied with the manner in which the Chief of Police has dealt with your complaint you may address your complaint to the City Manager.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU WANT TO WITHDRAW YOUR COMPLAINT:
Wherever possible you should speak to the supervisory officer to whom you first made your complaint. As an alternative, you can notify the Chief of Police. If your complaint has led to criminal proceedings against any employee any decision to continue with those proceedings will rest with the District Attorney’s Office.
HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT A SUPERVISORY OFFICER:
If you have a complaint about a supervisory police officer you should contact the Chief of Police.
WHO MAKES SURE COMPLAINTS ARE DEALT WITH PROPERLY:
The Chief of Police is responsible for all internal affairs matters. Except for extraordinary circumstances, he supports the assigned investigator, assuring the investigator has access to any and all resources required, and provides staff review.