SJPD Star


Internal Affairs Unit

Compliment and Complaint Process

Internal Affairs Unit

777 N. First St., Suite 666
San Jose, CA 95112-6341

(408) 277-4094

File a Complaint

Compliments and Commendations

Everyone enjoys receiving recognition for their efforts and there is no question that most of the 1,800 employees of the San Jose Police Department are doing an outstanding job in our fast growing city.

We realize that many of our residents and visitors to San Jose would like to know how to compliment our employees for a job well done.

Compliments and Commendations, either verbal or written, are one of the best ways to let our employees know that you appreciate their good work and extraordinary customer service. A commendation for an employee of the San Jose Police Department is most often sent to the Chief of Police. You may also advise the employee's supervisor or a Watch Commander. Your compliments may be made in person, by phone, by email or fax, or through a letter or informal note to the San Jose Police Department.

A compliment or commendation may address any event that you feel demonstrates any effort on the part of the employee that deserves special recognition. This may include such acts as: unusual courtesy or compassion, significant life saving measures, or other extraordinary acts.

All compliments and commendations are formally documented and the affected employees and their supervisors will be notified.

Mission Statement

It shall be the policy of the Internal Affairs Unit to receive allegations from members of the public in a courteous and professional manner. Investigations shall be appropriately documented, promptly investigated, and conducted in a timely, legal and ethical manner. Internal Affairs employees shall demonstrate sincere responsiveness to the concerns of the public, and will inform members of the public that their allegations or concerns will be thoroughly investigated.

Complaint Process Information

Any person can file an allegation against a member of the SJPD. An allegation may be filed with the San Jose Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit (IA) or with the Office of the Independent Police Auditor (IPA). An allegation is an unproven accusation that a member of the Police Department violated Department or City policy procedure, rules, regulations, or the law.

Information Regarding the SJPD’s Mediation Program

The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) implemented a Voluntary Mediation Program as an alternative process for resolving citizen complaints where the alleged misconduct is minor in nature or where there is misunderstanding about an enforcement action, neglect of duty or police procedure. The program is completely voluntary and requires that both the citizen and the accused Department member agree to participate in the process and a sign confidentiality agreement. The process provides the citizen and the subject officer an opportunity to meet in the presence of an independent, trained mediator, express concerns about an incident and explain their view and hear the other side.

Information Regarding the SJPD’s Retaliation Policy

The San Jose Police Department believes in the right of all persons to report potential misconduct by its members without fear of retaliation. Retaliation against any party to a complaint made to the Department, IA, or the Independent Police Auditor (IPA) is prohibited. The Department will not tolerate retaliation and will take immediate disciplinary action against any member in violation of this policy.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs)

How is an allegation of misconduct accepted?  An allegation will be accepted by phone, letter, e-mail, fax, anonymously, or in person.

Who conducts the investigation?  Regardless of where the allegation is filed, the investigation is conducted by the San Jose Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit.

How is an allegation proven?  An allegation is sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance means proof that more likely than not the alleged conduct occurred.

How much time does it take to complete a case? According to the Peace Officer Bill of Rights Government Code Section 3304, allegations against police officers must be completed within one year of the received date.  The San Jose Police Department has a policy of completing all cases within 300 days of the received date.  

How will a member of the public be notified of the case outcome?  After the investigation is completed, the case is forwarded from IA to the IPA for audit and review.  Once there is agreement that the case has been completed in a thorough, fair and objective manner, a closing letter will be sent to the complainant. 

What is the definition of an allegation, misconduct, and complaint? 

  • An allegation is an unproven accusation that a member of the Police Department violated Department or City policy procedure, rules, regulations, or the law. 
  • Misconduct is an act or omission by a Department member that is a violation of Department or City policy, procedure, rules, regulations, or the law, which if proven true may result in disciplinary action. 
  • A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction that contains an allegation, which if proven to be true, demonstrates misconduct.

When receiving a closing letter, what are the potential findings of a case?  The findings include; Unfounded, Exonerated, Not Sustained, No Finding, Complaint Withdrawn, and Sustained.  Supervisor Referral and mediation are available outcomes. 

If an allegation is sustained will discipline information be provided in the closing letter?  No, state law prohibits the release of this information.   

When receiving a closing letter, what are the potential findings of a case? The findings include; Unfounded, Exonerated, Not Sustained, No Finding, Complaint Withdrawn, and Sustained. Supervisor Referral and mediation are available outcomes.

If you have any further questions or require any assistance, please contact:
The Internal Affairs Unit
(408) 277- 4094

— File a Complaint with Internal Affairs —


The City of San José is committed to open and honest government and strives to consistently meet the community’s expectations by
providing excellent service, in a positive and timely manner, and in the full view of the public. Read more about the City Code of Ethics.