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File a Complaint - Frequently Asked Questions

How will my complaint be investigated?

Your case will be assigned to an investigating supervisor. They will talk to you about your complaint and explain the process. You have the option of an Informal or Formal complaint resolution.

A Formal investigation will be classified as either a Category-I or a Category-II complaint based on the nature of the allegation. During a Formal investigation, you, the officer, and all witnesses will be interviewed. All physical evidence will also be examined. For all Category-I complaints, the complete investigation will be reviewed by Commission on Police Practices (CPP).

In Informal investigations, the supervisor will conduct a preliminary investigation, address your concerns directly with the officer, and document the incident with a memorandum in the case file. All records will be retained in the Internal Affairs Unit for five years. No further investigation will take place unless the employee’s Commanding Officer determines an additional investigation is warranted.

Will I be told the results of the complaint?

Yes. For Formal complaints, both SDPD and the CPP will send you a letter with the results at the completion of their respective investigation and review. Each allegation will be assigned one of four possible findings. In the CPP’s review, each allegation will be reviewed and the CPP will either agree or disagree with SDPD’s conclusion.

The four possible conclusions are:

  • Sustained: All or part of the act occurred.
  • Not Sustained: There was not enough evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation.
  • Unfounded: The act did not occur.
  • Exonerated: The act occurred, but was justified, legal and proper.

What will happen to the officer?

If the officer’s actions were improper, they will be subject to discipline. However, the law (832.7 P.C.) prohibits telling you what specific disciplinary action was taken against the officer(s).

What's next?

You can turn in a completed complaint form to any police station or storefront as well as Police Headquarters at 1401 Broadway in downtown San Diego. If you prefer you can call 619-531-2000 and ask to speak with a police supervisor, or forward this form electronically to sdpdia@pd.sandiego.gov.

If you have any questions, you can also call San Diego Police Department Internal Affairs directly at 619-531-2801.

Lastly, you can also submit this form to the CPP at 1200 Third Ave. Ste 924, MS56G, San Diego, CA 92101, by phone at 619-236-6296, or online at: commissiononpolicepractices@sandiego.gov.