Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Citizens' Review Board and what are its functions?
The Citizens' Review on Police Practices (CRB) reviews and evaluates serious complaints brought by the public against the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), which include allegations involving: force, arrest, criminal conduct, discrimination and slurs. The CRB also reviews and evaluates officer-involved shootings and all in-custody deaths.
The purpose of the Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices is to assure that all complaints against police officers are investigated thoroughly, completely and fairly. In the course of case review, the CRB may choose to make policy and procedure recommendations to the Chief of Police and the Mayor. The Board's primary objective is to recommend and advocate policies which promote fair, humane policing and insure the safety of both citizens and police officers.
Where can I learn more about the CRB?
The public is informed about the CRB's work through the Board's annual reports, as well as informational presentations conducted several times each year. Groups or individuals may request information or formal presentations by contacting the Executive Director at (619) 236-6296, and may also attend the Board's monthly public session on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Information is also made available to the public through the CRB website: www.sandiego.gov/citizensreviewboard and can be accessed through the SDPD website as well.
How and where can I file a complaint against a City of San Diego Police Officer?
Citizen commendations or complaints may be made through this web site; by letter, by phone, or in person at the CRB office, 202 "C" Street, MS 9A (9th floor), (619) 236-6296; or through the San Diego Police Department at any SDPD facility, or by calling Police Communications at (619) 531-2000.
Will my complaint be taken seriously?
All complaints against City of San Diego Police Officers are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.
How will my complaint be investigated?
Category I Complaints (force, arrest, criminal conduct, discrimination and slurs) are investigated by SDPD Internal Affairs (IA). The complainant will be contacted by an IA investigator to schedule a formal interview. The investigator will gather additional information through SDPD records, interviews of civilian witnesses, police officers and any other available sources. Once the investigation is completed, it is reviewed by the IA Lieutenant. The investigation is then assigned to a three-person review team of the CRB for a thorough review and evaluation of the facts and evidence. In the final phase of review, the full CRB receives the case for discussion and recommendations to the SDPD. The complainant is notified, by separate letters, of IA and CRB findings. The investigation and review may take up to six months in order to ensure a complete and fair process
Doesn't the CRB just go along with whatever the police officer says?
Absolutely not. CRB teams have unfettered access to IA resources and receive the entire Internal Affairs investigation of the complaint, including taped interviews of all relevant civilian witnesses and police officers, SDPD Communications recordings, photos, diagrams and all other evidence surrounding the complaint. The teams can spend on an average of 8-10 hours to review and prepare a case for presentation to the full CRB. A more complicated case or an officer-involved shooting can sometimes take 20 + hours to review. CRB members may request additional information from IA and may also request that investigations be re-opened and findings changed if their review of the case differs from the findings of IA. The CRB team's report is presented to the entire Board to determine whether the CRB agrees or disagrees with IA's findings.
How will I learn about the results of my complaint? Can I see the investigation for myself?
The complainant is notified, by separate letters, of IA and CRB findings. Because SDPD personnel records are considered confidential (Peace Officer Procedural Bill of Rights and Sections 832.5 and 832.7 of the California Penal Code), complainants are prohibited from reading the actual report and CRB Members are unable to discuss any details of specific cases.
How long will it take for my complaint to be reviewed?
The CRB begins its review once Internal Affairs has completed its investigation. Internal Affairs strives to complete its investigations in 90 to 120 days. This standard is met in the majority of cases. However, complex investigations may take longer. The CRB takes every complaint seriously and wants to ensure the process maintains objectivity and integrity. The Board strives to complete this entire process within 30 to 60 days of the case assignment.
What will happen to the officer?
Depending on the findings of the IA investigation and the CRB review, appropriate discipline is administered to officer(s) involved in a sustained complaint. Discipline could include: training recommendations, verbal counseling, written admonishment, suspension or termination.
What if I am not satisfied with the results of the investigation and CRB review?
We sincerely hope that will not occur. However, if it does, the complainant may contact the following persons/departments:
City Attorney's Office ......(619) 236-6220
City Councilperson.......... (619) 236-6440
District Attorney's Office.. (619) 531-4040
FBI................................. (858) 565-1255
Grand Jury (County)........ (619) 515-8707
State Attorney General .....(619) 645-2001
U.S. Attorney General.......(619) 557-5610
Who runs the CRB? To whom does the Board report?
The Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices is comprised of twenty-three (23) Board Members who are appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor also appoints a high-ranking civilian employee as Executive Director to the Board.
When and where does the CRB meet?
The CRB meets every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month to review cases. Since these sessions involve confidential personnel information, they are closed to the public. The Board meets in open/public session every 4th Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the designated location in the following link: CRB Meeting Schedule and Locations.
Can I attend a CRB meeting to hear about my complaint?
While the public is welcome to attend open/public meetings and share their views on the complaint process, the Board cannot and does not discuss specific complaints in open session.
Can the CRB really make recommendations to the SDPD about their policies and training, or is the Board just a 'rubber stamp' for the Police Department?
The CRB can and does make recommendations to SDPD on a regular basis, including changes to policy and procedure. The Board also has had a significant impact in expanding and enhancing SDPD officer training.
How are CRB Members selected?
The Citizens' Review Board on Police Practices is composed entirely of volunteers. All members must be at least 18 years of age and reside in the city of San Diego. Applicants are screened and interviewed by a selection committee made up of Board Members and community leaders who make recommendations to the Mayor who makes all appointments to the CRB. After final selection and prior to submission to the Mayor, all applicants undergo a background check.
CRB Members are a representative cross-section of the San Diego community and must possess solid research, speaking and listening skills. Board Members average 20+ hours of volunteer time each month.
Do CRB Members receive any special training?
CRB Members participate in the following training opportunities:
- Classes covering all aspects of law enforcement;
- "Ride-alongs" with patrol officers, Sergeants and Field Lieutenants
- Formal training programs provided by the Board's Training Committee, the Executive Director and/or Internal Affairs;
- National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) conferences;
- Board Committees;
- Academy Classes;
- Regional Officer Training Classes;
- Crisis Response Team Trainings;
- Other training directed toward becoming knowledgeable with the procedures and practices of the San Diego Police Department or to increase Board Members' skills in reviewing, evaluating, and presenting citizen complaints.
CRB members are required to participate in 40 hours of training per calendar quarter.
How can I become a member of the CRB?
Anyone interested in Board Membership should submit a letter of interest and current resume to the Executive Director at 202 "C" Street, 9th Floor, MS 9A, San Diego, CA 92101. For more information, call (619) 236-6296.
Can I make my own recommendations to SDPD through the CRB?
Any citizen can attend the open/public session held on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8 PM at the following designated locations: CRB Meeting Schedule and Locations. If you wish to speak at an open session, you may contact CRB's Executive Director at (619) 236-6296 or fill out a speaker's form prior to the beginning of the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda for public comment.