Police Personnel Complaints & Commendations

Police Personnel Commendation/Complaint Form



Commendations, either verbal or written, are one of the best ways to let a Police Department staff member know that you appreciate their hard work. A commendation for an employee of the Police Department is most often sent to the Chief of Police. You may also advise the employee’s supervisor or Watch Commander. Your comments can be made in person, by telephone or by using this form.

A commendation may address any event that you deem noteworthy on the
part of an employee whom you believe should be recognized. This may range from the display of unusual courtesy or professionalism, to significant life-saving measures or heroic acts.

Commendations are formally documented and shared with the affected employees.


All Police Departments of the State of California are required by law to have a process by which citizens may make a complaint against police personnel.

There are two types of complaints. The first is an informal complaint. This
complaint is normally handled by the employee’s supervisor for minor

The second type of complaint is the formal complaint. This is for more
serious types of transgressions. The formal complaint is lodged with the
employee’s supervisor or Watch Commander.

Who Can Make a Complaint

A personnel complaint may be made by anyone. However if the complainant is under the age of 18 years, we require an adult to accompany the complainant.

How Can a Personnel Complaint be Made?

A complaint may be made by telephone, by mail or in person. The complaint may be made at the Police Department or another mutually convenient location. The department is primarily interested in learning of your concerns about police professionalism or need for improvement in our delivery of services.

When Can a Complaint be Made?

A complaint may be made at any time. After normal business hours, a
personnel complaint may be made with any supervisor, the on-duty Watch
Commander, or by calling (707) 778-4372.

What Happens After I File a Complaint?

The complaint is received, reviewed and assigned to an investigator to look into the matter. If the investigator is able to resolve the complaint after examining all the facts and circumstances, you will be notified.

If the complaint requires further review, it will be forwarded to a Police
Lieutenant for a formal recommendation, and the Chief of Police for a final determination. You will be notified in writing as to the disposition of the complaint.

Will I Have to Testify if I Make a Complaint?

A complainant does not normally have to testify in any formal hearing. During the investigation you, along with all witnesses, will be questioned
concerning the incident. It is essential to any investigation to ask all pertinent questions and obtain factual information. Once an investigation is
concluded, a disposition will be determined.

Employees of the City of Petaluma have the right to appeal any discipline
recommended or imposed. In some cases, these appeals may be heard by
the City of Petaluma Personnel Board, which is comprised of three citizens
from the community. You may have to testify at such a hearing.
If you have a complaint and you are unsure how to proceed, a telephone
call to any on-duty Watch Commander will provide you with the options

Police Motorcyle Officer

The law requires us to have a formal process for filing a complaint about Police Department personnel.

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