Citizen's Commendation and Complaint Information

Citizen's Commendation and Complaint Policy
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office recognized that providing effective law enforcement for our community requires that a proper relationship, created by confidence and trust, be maintained between the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of San Mateo County. An essential part of this relationship is the responsibility to provide, in written form, a process whereby all citizens may make known their comments, either positive or negative concerning their interaction with our employees and be assure of a prompt and unbiased review. When making a complaint or commendation, please be prepared to provide the date, time and location of the incident; the names of department personnel (if known); the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any possible witnesses. To file a complaint, download and fill out the Citizen's Commendation and Complaint Form.
Complaint Investigation Procedure
Once your complaint is received, it will be thoroughly and fairly investigated by a person designated by the Sheriff. The investigation will include a review of all applicable reports, policies and procedures, examination of any evidence or medical records and interviews with all parties involved.
After the investigation is complete, the findings of the investigator will be sent to the Sheriff for review. If the Sheriff determined that an employee has violated department policies of procedures, appropriate corrective action will be taken. Review of the incident will also include examining ways to improve our policies, procedures and services to the community.
Findings of the Investigation
You will receive written notification of the results of the investigation. There are four possible findings:
Sustained – the allegation made in the complaint was proven.
Not sustained – the investigation failed to prove or disprove the allegation.
Unfounded – the investigation shows that the alleged act did not occur.
Exonerated – the investigation shows that the alleged act did occur but was justified, lawful and proper under the circumstances.
Any questions regarding the investigation can be referred to the investigator that was assigned to the case.

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