Use of Force Data
Personnel Complaints and Investigations
All Police Departments in the State of California are required by law to have a process by which a civilian may make a complaint against Petaluma Police Department personnel. This information will assist anyone who has occasion to make a complaint against any member of the Petaluma Police Department.
The Petaluma Police Department civilian complaint process is committed to providing quality service to the community and we welcome feedback, including critical comments about employee performance. The Petaluma Police Department investigates complaints taken from community members, known as civilian complaints. Personnel complaints received from community members are managed and investigated by Professional Standards through the Office of the Chief of Police.
There are four potential findings related to personnel investigations which are as follows:
- Unfounded - When the investigation clearly established that allegation is not true. Complaints that are determined to be frivolous will fall within the classification of unfounded (Penal Code § 832.8).
- Exonerated - When the investigation clearly established that the actions of the personnel that formed the basis of the complaint are not in violation of law or agency policy.
- Not sustained - When the investigation fails to disclose sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation in the complaint to fully exonerate the employee(s).
- Sustained – When the investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to prove truth of allegation in the complaint by preponderance of evidence.
Once an investigation is complete, depending on the findings, the Deputy Police Chief takes the appropriate disciplinary action. Investigations resulting in sustained findings can result in employee discipline ranging from written reprimands up to and including termination.
Consistent with the Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing, the Petaluma Police Department reports civilian complaints to the public.
For more information on civilian complaints or commendations click here.