Commendations, Concerns, & Complaints


Commendations

Everyone enjoys receiving recognition for their efforts. Commendations, either verbal or written, are one of the best ways to let someone know that you appreciate their work. A commendation for an employee of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is most often sent to the Sheriff. You may also advise the employee’s supervisor or Watch Commander. Your comments can be made in person, by telephone, or by using the form in this brochure.

 

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 compassion to significant life-saving measures or heroic acts. We are interested in hearing about your observations of any commendable act or behavior.

 

All commendations are formally documented and the affected employees will be notified.

 

A commendation takes only a few minutes to write or communicate. It can go a long way to let the personnel of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office know how you feel about them and their service.

 

Use this form or send your letter to: Commendations and Complaint Form

                                                          Commendations and Complaint Form (Spanish)

 

Sheriff Steve Freitas
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office
2796 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

 

Personnel Complaints

All sheriff’s departments in the State of California are required by law to have a process by which a citizen may make a complaint against Sheriff’s personnel. This pamphlet will assist anyone who has occasion to make a complaint against any member of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Here are some of the questions we frequently encounter regarding our complaint procedures and processes:

 

“What is a Citizen’s Complaint?”

A citizen's complaint is your opportunity to address whatever issue or concern you may have about a Sheriff's Department member's performance. You can make a complaint about anything that concerns you. It will be taken seriously and handled appropriately by supervisory staff.

 

“Who Can Make a Complaint?”
A personnel complaint may be made by anyone. However, if the complainant is under the age of 18, we require that the complainant be accompanied by a parent or an adult.

 

“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, may 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 Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office have the right to appeal any discipline recommended or imposed. In some cases these appeals may be heard by the Civil Service Commission comprised of five citizens from the community. You may be asked to testify at such a hearing.

 

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 Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, or another mutually convenient location. The department is primarily interested in learning of your concerns about law enforcement conduct or a need for improvement in our delivery of services.

 

When Can A Complaint Be Made?
A complaint may be made 24 hours a day. After normal business hours, a personnel complaint may be registered with any supervisor or the on-duty Watch Commander, or by calling (707) 565-2650.

 

What Happens After I File A Complaint?
The complaint is received, reviewed and assigned to a supervisor for further investigation. If the supervisor 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 the Administration Division Captain for a formal recommendation and then to the affected division’s Assistant Sheriff for a final determination. You will be notified in writing the disposition of the complaint.

 

What Happens If I File A False Criminal Complaint?
We invite citizens to bring their concerns regarding law enforcement practices and services to our attention, however, anyone who alleges that a crime was committed and reports that to a peace officer, knowing the report to be false, could be charged with a misdemeanor.

 

If you have a complaint and are not sure how to proceed, call the on-duty Watch Commander at (707) 565-2650.

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