Internal Affairs Unit
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 concerns of the public, and they will inform members of the public that their allegations or concerns will be taken seriously.
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Complaint Process Information
All police departments in the State of California are required by law to have a process in which a citizen may make a complaint against police personnel. Any person can file a complaint against a member of the San José Police Department (SJPD). Each complaint must contain an allegation, an unproven accusation that a member of the Police Department violated Department or City policy procedure, rules, regulations, or the law. The complaint may be filed with the San José Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit (IA), the Office of the Independent Police Auditor (IPA) or through any Police Department member.
Information Regarding the SJPD’s Retaliation Policy
The San José Police Department believes in the right of all persons to report potential misconduct by Department members without fear of retaliation. Retaliation against any party to a complaint made to the Department, Internal Affairs Unit, or the Independent Police Auditor (IPA) is prohibited. The Department will not tolerate retaliation.
Who can make a complaint, and who conducts the investigation?
A complaint may be made by anyone. If the complainant is under the age of 18, we request that the complainant be accompanied by a parent or guardian when coming to the Internal Affairs Unit. The Internal Affairs Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Auditor and the San José Police Department will accept an allegation by phone, letter, e-mail, fax, anonymously, or in person. The complaint may be made at the Department’s Internal Affairs Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Auditor, or any other mutually convenient location. Regardless of where or how the allegation is filed, the investigation is conducted by the San José Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit.
When can a complaint be made?
A complaint may be made 24 hours a day. During normal business hours, the complaint may be submitted to the San José Police Department Internal Affairs Unit at (408) 277-4094 or via fax at (408) 277-3920. After normal business hours, the complaint may be made by calling (408) 277-4631 or by contacting an on-duty Watch Commander through Police Communications at (408) 277-8900. You can also email a complaint to either the Internal Affairs Unit website at: http://www.sjpd.org/COP/IA.html or to the Office of the Independent Police Auditor's office at: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/ipa/.
What happens after a complaint is filed?
Depending upon the level of investigation, the complainant and any witnesses will be interviewed in detail concerning the incident. Their statements will be documented in writing. The Internal Affairs Unit officers will collect evidence pertaining to the complaint. The Internal Affairs Unit supervisor will analyze all the information gathered and determine if the appropriate finding is reached on each allegation. The supervisor then submits the written investigation to the Unit Commander. The Unit Commander reviews the supervisor’s written investigation and approves of the findings in the allegation. Additionally, every allegation of a major Use of Force is reviewed by the Assistant Chief of Police. The investigation is then forwarded to the Independent Police Auditor's Office for audit and review. After the investigation is completed, a closing letter is sent to the complainant.
Will I have to testify if I make a complaint?
If an allegation is sustained and discipline is imposed, the Police Department employee may contest that action in a Civil Service hearing or before an Arbitrator. If that happens, the complainant may be asked to testify. If the investigation leads to the filing of a criminal complaint and the matter goes to trial, you may be required to testify in court.
How is an allegation proven, what are the possible findings?
An allegation is sustained when the evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that a violation of the policy or procedure occurred; this standard of evidence is called the “preponderance of evidence.” The available findings to an allegation include: Unfounded: The investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur, or the member named in the allegation was not involved in the act or acts, which may have occurred. Exonerated: The act or acts, which provided the basis for the allegation or complaint occurred, however, the investigation revealed they were justified, lawful, and proper.
Not Sustained: The investigation failed to disclose sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation made in the complaint. No Finding: The complainant failed to disclose promised information needed to further the investigation. Complaint Withdrawn: The complainant affirmatively indicates the desire to withdraw his/her complaint. Sustained: The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegation made in the complaint. Mediation: By mutual agreement with all involved parties the case was mediated and the complaint withdrawn.
Information Regarding the SJPD’s Mediation Program
The San José Police Department, in collaboration with the Office of the Independent Police Auditor, 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 sign a confidentiality agreement. The process provides the citizen and the subject officer with an opportunity to meet in the presence of a trained and independent mediator, so each party can express their concerns about the incident and explain their respective views.
If an allegation is sustained will discipline information be provided in the closing letter?
No, state law prohibits the release of this information.
How much time does it take to complete a case?
According to the Peace Officer Bill of Rights Government Code Section 3304, investigations into alleged police officer misconduct must be completed within one year of the received date. The San José Police Department has a policy of completing all cases within 300 days of the received date. There are exceptions which may extend or toll this timeline.
What happens if a complaint is found not to contain a violation of Department or City policy procedure, rules, regulations, or the law?
The allegations will be considered not as a complaint but as a Non-Misconduct Concern. In Non-Misconduct Concern cases the immediate supervisor of the employee is notified of the complainant’s concern and the supervisor addresses the issues of concern with the Department member. The complainant will be sent a closing letter at the end of the process.
In addition to the detailed information regarding the internal affairs process available on this website, this publication can be made available upon request in alternate formats, such as, Braille, large print, audio recording, or accessible electronic format. Requests can be made by calling 408-277-5200 or the general City TTY number at (408) 294-9337.
Send your letters to:
Chief of Police
San José Police Department
201 West Mission Street
San José, California 95110
Or contact the Internal Affairs Unit.
Helpful information for filing a Complaint.
Date/Time/Location of occurrence
Officer's name and badge number (if available)
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.
If you have any further questions or require any assistance, please contact:
The Internal Affairs Unit
(408) 277- 4094