Complaint/compliment

The Police Department is committed to conducting fair and consistent complaint investigations. Once received, a complaint of employee misconduct will be investigated and resolved. Commendations will be forwarded to employees and their supervisors.

What is a personnel complaint?

Personnel complaints are any allegation of misconduct or improper job performance against any department employee. Certain misconduct may also 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.

If you are dissatisfied with the conduct of a department employee, or the employee’s job performance you can make a complaint. Complaints from juveniles should be made with their parents or guardians present after the parent/guardian has been informed of the circumstances prompting the complaint. 

How do I file a complaint?

A complaint may be made at any time, 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

You will be provided a copy of your completed complaint form.
 
Complaints can be made by phone by calling 650-330-6300. Ask to speak with the on-duty watch commander or supervisor. Alternatively, you may obtain and/or drop off complaint forms at the Police Department lobby located at 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park CA 94025. It is ideal that you come in person so that 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 then forwarded to the Administrative Sergeant and subsequently to the Division Commander of the involved employee. The Division Commander informs the Police Chief of all complaint investigations. Complaints may be further investigated by the direction of the Police Chief.
 
The investigation will include contacting any witnesses, examining relevant physical evidence, and gathering 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 will 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:

  1. Unfounded: The investigation proved the allegation was not true.
  2. Not Sustained: The investigation was unable to prove whether the allegation was true or not.
  3. Sustained: The investigation proved an allegation of misconduct was true.
  4. 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

The Police Department takes pride in providing high-quality customer service to our community. A compliment may be made at any time, day or night, to any police supervisory personnel by phone, in writing, or in person. We love receiving examples of our employees surpassing your expectations. Many officers keep the handwritten thank you letters given to them from members of the community. When describing your experience, please try to list the employee’s name, location, date, and incident number. Thank you to those community members who have taken time out of their day to give recognition to our staff.