Police Department Complaints

Police Department Complaint Procedure

Dear Community Member,

The Town of Los Gatos understands that a relationship of confidence and trust with the public is essential to effective community policing.

It is the Town’s expectation that all Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Officers provide the community we serve with the highest level of policing services at every available opportunity. If you feel that you have not received the level of service that is expected, it is your right to submit a formal complaint to the Town Clerk.  A Formal Complaint Form can be downloaded, filled out, and returned either by email to clerk@losgatosca.gov, by mail, or in person to the Town Clerk at 110 E Main Street, Los Gatos CA 95030. 

The Town of Los Gatos takes all community complaints regarding the conduct of Police Officers seriously. Once a complaint is received, a thorough investigation will be done of all the information provided in your complaint. You will be contacted for additional information by either the Town Attorney or an Independent Investigator assigned to investigate the case. 

Complaints will fall under the following classification system as determined by the Town Attorney:

i. Supervisory Referral:  A Supervisory Referral is a complaint which contains an allegation involving a minor transgression that may best be handled by bringing the matter to the attention of the subject member’s supervisor and the chain of command to determine if the transgression occurred and the appropriate corrective action without formal investigation by an independent Investigator.  All of the following objective criteria must be met for a complaint to be considered a Supervisory Referral:

  • The issue must be personnel-related,
  • Allegations of misconduct must be related to action(s) or inaction(s) by a sworn member of the Department, and 
  • The allegation(s) must involve a minor transgression in which a finding of Sustained would not likely result in formal discipline.

ii. Policy Complaint:  A Policy Complaint is defined as a complaint in which a sworn Officer took action that was in compliance with policies and procedures, but for which the complainant believes the policy is inappropriate or invalid. In these cases, there is no indication a complaint is made specifically against the Officer taking the action.

iii. Conduct Complaint:  A Conduct Complaint is defined as a complaint in which a complainant files an allegation against a sworn Officer, which if true would indicate the Officer violated (1) any local, state, or federal law or, (2) any Department policy or procedure, and where such actions could result in the involved Officer receiving disciplinary action.  

iv. Non-Misconduct Concern:  After receiving a complaint alleging misconduct by a sworn Officer, a preliminary investigation by the Investigator may indicate that the allegations did not involve a violation of (1) any local, state or federal law or, (2) any Department policy or procedures.  Such a complaint will be re-categorized as a Non-Misconduct Concern, meaning it does not meet the criteria outlined in the definition of a Conduct Complaint.  Recategorizing complaints as Non-Misconduct Concerns allows the Department to track issues that may indicate a need for training for sworn personnel and/or community outreach/dialogue.

v. Exceptional Clearance Complaint:  When the initial investigation of a complaint reveals that the misconduct alleged in the complaint did not occur, based on immediately available evidence and/or recorded media, the complaint is categorized as an Exceptional Clearance Complaint.  The investigator completes formal written documentation of the incident using the designated report format to explain why the case was cleared exceptionally.

vi. Incomplete:  A matter in which the complaining party either refuses to cooperate or becomes unavailable after diligent follow-up investigation.  In such matters, the investigator may further investigate the matter depending on the seriousness of the complaint.  If there is not the availability of sufficient independent evidence to continue, the complaint will be classified and found Incomplete.

Once the investigation is complete and the facts are known, the Police Chief, after reviewing all aspects of the investigation, will make the final decision as to any disciplinary action. Both the person making the complaint and the employee involved will be notified in writing of the findings at the completion of the investigation. State law prohibits the disclosure of specific information regarding personnel actions involving Police Officers.

It should be noted that this complaint procedure cannot be used to establish your guilt or innocence in any pending criminal proceeding. Although your complaint will be accepted from you, no formal determination will be made while criminal action is pending. 

Any questions regarding this process can be emailed to attorney@losgatosca.gov.