Our process reflects laws that are in place to protect both the Department team member and the person making an allegation of sub-standard performance or misconduct. It is our policy that the processing of complaints and any related investigation is conducted in a fair, objective, and impartial manner with the goal of establishing the facts and getting to the truth of the matter. California law specifies that information regarding personnel complaints is highly confidential and is not to be released unless there is a compelling business necessity to do so.
Community members making complaints in person at the Police Department will be requested to meet with a supervisor to discuss their concerns. If the community member is unable to meet with a supervisor or chooses not to, they will be asked to give their name, address, and telephone number so a supervisor can contact them as soon as possible.
A person making a complaint to a supervisor will be given the option of having the supervisor handle the matter informally with the employee or request a MPD Public Complaint Form. This form is provided to members of the public who wish to file a formal written complaint against a member of the Department. We will accept Public Complaint Forms via mail, fax, or other means of delivery; however, we prefer to meet with members of the public to resolve concerns as expeditiously as possible. Individuals may ask for the form from the Police Department to return later, should they choose not to meet with a supervisor.
We take allegations of misconduct and substandard performance of our employees very seriously and recognize that community members must have the ability to freely express their concerns and complaints about the Police Department.
The majority of complaints we receive are not the result of deliberate acts of misconduct by Police Department employees. Instead, they are more often issues related to miscommunication, attitudinal concerns, or factual or judgment disputes when officers enforce the law by making an arrest or issuing a citation. Typically, we are able to resolve these types of public complaints by meeting with the concerned employee for additional training and coaching.
Complaints that involve misconduct by Department employees are fully investigated following a formal process. A senior police manager reviews these allegations of misconduct and assigns a supervisor or mid-manager to conduct the formal investigation of this type of complaint. The Chief of Police reviews the completed investigation, determines the appropriate finding and, if warranted, what discipline to impose. The subject employee is afforded all due process rights as required by law throughout the course of the investigation.
It is important to understand that all complaints are considered confidential personnel matters/records and, as such, the Department is prohibited by law (Penal Code Section 832.7) from releasing such information to the public. Upon completion of an investigation, we notify complaining parties and provide them with a prescribed disposition, identifying whether the allegation(s) was sustained, not sustained, exonerated, or unfounded.
The complaint process is one aspect of our service to the community that facilitates the maintenance of our professional standards, while at the same time promotes and advances our primary function of keeping the Community safe and secure for all citizens.
We hope that through these efforts we are able to more fully impress upon the public that the members of the Monterey Police Department are committed to our Vision “of being the best public service agency on the Central Coast”, and also to fulfilling our Mission – “Responsive to All, Second to None, Every Time”.