It is a crime (misdemeanor) to file a complaint against an officer knowing that the complaint is false. If you have a complaint and are not sure how to proceed, a telephone call to the on-duty Watch Commander will provide you the options available.
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There are two types of personnel complaints. The first is the informal complaint. This complaint is normally handled by the employee's supervisor for minor transgressions and is brought to the employee's attention by the supervisor.
The second type of complaint is the formal complaint. This is for more serious types of transgressions. The formal complaint is lodged with the employee's supervisor, Watch Commander or Chief of Police.
A personnel complaint may be made by anyone. However, if the complainant is under the age of 18, we require that the complainant be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
A complaint may be made by telephone, mail or in person. The complaint may be made at the Police Department, or another mutually convenient location. The department is primarily interested in learning of your concerns about police conduct or a need for improvement in our delivery of services.
A complaint may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The complaint is received, reviewed, and assigned to a supervisor for further investigation. If the supervisor is able to resolve the complaint after examining all the facts and circumstances, you will be notified. If the complaint requires further review, it will be forwarded to the Internal Affairs Supervisor for a formal investigation which is forwarded to the Chief of Police for final determination. You will be notified in writing concerning the disposition of the complaint. A formal investigation will not be initiated until a supervisor contacts the complainant in person or by telephone to determine if a formal investigation is warranted.
A formal investigation would not be initiated if the complaining party is satisfied appropriate action will be taken by an employee's supervisor.
A complainant normally does not have to testify in any formal hearing. During the investigation, you, along with all witnesses, will be interviewed concerning the incident. It is essential to any investigation to ask all pertinent questions and obtain factual information. Employees of the St. Helena Police Department have the right to appeal any discipline recommended as the result of a personnel complaint investigation. In some cases, there may be an Administrative Review Hearing; there is a possibility you may have to testify at such hearing.
City of St. Helena
1088 College Avenue
St. Helena, CA 94574