Complaint or Compliment Reporting

The Menlo Park Police Department is committed to a fair and consistent complaint investigation process and has established a process to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints of employee misconduct or commendations. We want to assure you that this department wishes to provide the best type of law enforcement service possible.

Complaint Procedures:


What is a personnel complaint?
Personnel complaints are any allegation of misconduct or improper job performance against any department employee that, if true, would constitute a violation of department policy, federal, state, or local law.

Who can make a complaint?
Every person has an absolute right to file a complaint. Anyone who is dissatisfied with the conduct of a department employee, or the employee’s job performance can make a complaint. Complaints from juveniles are generally taken only with their parents or guardians present and after the parents or guardians have been informed of the circumstances prompting the complaint. 

How do I file a complaint?
A complaint may be made at any time of the day or night to any police supervisory personnel. Complaints may be made in person, by telephone, or in writing. When making a complaint please ask to speak to the employee's direct supervisor or the patrol watch commander. You may be asked to fill out a complaint form and you will be provided a copy of the form.. 

Call the Police Department 650-330-6300 and ask to speak with the On-Duty Watch Commander or Supervisor. Or alternatively, you may obtain and/or drop off complaint forms at the Menlo Park Police Department lobby located at 701 Laurel Street, CA 94025. It is desirable that you come to the police department where your complaint can be received during a personal interview.

Who will investigate my complaint?
The investigation of your complaint will be initiated by the supervisor of the involved employee. All complaint investigations are forwarded to the Administrative Sergeant and subsequently to the Division Commander of the involved employee. The Division Commander informs the Chief of Police of all complaint investigations. Complaints may be further investigated by the direction of the Chief of Police.

The investigator will contact all witnesses, examine any relevant physical evidence, and gather all information associated with each charge made in the complaint.

What to expect?
The assigned investigator will contact you and inform you of receipt of the complaint. You may be asked to provide additional information and to be interviewed. All investigations must be completed within one year of the complaint being made. At the conclusion of the investigation you will be notified by mail of the outcome. The law provides for the following findings of complaints:

  • Unfounded: The investigation proved the allegation was not true.
  • Not Sustained: The investigation was unable to prove whether the allegation was true or not.
  • Sustained: The investigation proved an allegation of misconduct was true.
  • Exonerated: The allegation of officer conduct was true, but permissible by law and/or policy.
Some complaints are also "withdrawn" by the complainant or classified as "pending" when the complainant is facing criminal charges and laws prohibit police personnel from questioning the complainant until the charges are adjudicated. A finding of "frivolous" is reached when, the investigation found that the complaint is one that is "totally and completely without merit" or is taken "for the sole purpose of harassing the officer.” 

After completion of the investigation, a disposition as outlined above will be made on each alleged act of misconduct. You will be notified by mail of the complaint disposition and reason for the disposition after it has been completed and reviewed by the police chief.

Compliment Procedures:

 
A compliment may be made at any time of the day or night to any police supervisory personnel. The Menlo Park Police Department takes great pride in providing high quality customer service to our community. Our highly trained officers have the ability to handle a variety of situations and strive to enhance the lives of the public we serve. We hold our employees to a high standard and would appreciate any positive feedback you may have on your encounter with our staff. Our Officers and Professional Staff would like to hear about any memorable experience you may have had with them. When describing your experience, please try and list the employees name location, date, and incident number. Thank you for your time and we look forward to helping you in any way we can in the future.