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Complaint Process

Category I Complaints

In Category I Complaints, the assigned investigator will contact the complainant to schedule a formal interview. An uninvolved support person may accompany the complainant to the interview. The investigator will then gather as much information as possible through Police Department records, interviews of civilian witnesses, police officers involved and any other sources available. Before a final determination is made by the investigator, the case is thoroughly reviewed by the investigators' supervisor in the Internal Affairs Unit.

At the completion of the Internal Affairs investigation, Category I Complaints are assigned to a three-person panel of the Review Board for a thorough review and evaluation of the facts of the case.

The teams review cases in the Internal Affairs office. Upon completion of the review, a report is prepared that concludes with the team either agreeing or disagreeing with the Internal Affair's findings.

If Internal Affairs and the CRB team disagree:

  • The review teams meet with the Internal Affairs Commanding Officer and the Investigating Sergeant.
  • The disagreement is discussed.
  • The team asks for clarification and/or further investigation.
  • 98% of disagreements are resolved at this level.

Finally, the full Citizens' Review Board receives the case for discussion and makes a recommendation to the Chief of Police regarding the alleged misconduct.

The complainant is then notified by separate letters of the Internal Affairs and Review Board findings. The Police Department strives to complete most cases in 90 to 120 days and the Review Board strives to complete its process within an additional 30 days.

At the end of the process, if a disagreement still exists between the Citizens' Review Board and the San Diego Police Department, the CRB Chair, the CRB Executive Director, and the Assistant Chief of Police for Professional Standards will meet to discuss the issues. An Independent investigation may be conducted at this point.

If the issues cannot be resolved, the CRB has the authority to independently refer a complaint investigation to the Grand Jury, District Attorney or any other governmental agency authorized by law for further investigation and review.

You may also report abuse by law enforcement officers to the following of offices:
Grand Jury (County) (619) 515-8707
District Attorney (County) (619) 531-4040
Attorney General (State) (619) 645-2001
U.S. Attorney General (Federal) (619) 557-5610

Filing a citizen complaint for internal review is a City of San Diego administrative remedy. To file a claim for damages with the City, call Risk Management, Liabilities/Claims Information at (619) 236-6670.