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3.21.120 Handling Complaints.

(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 179162, 183657 and 186416, effective February 7, 2014.)  To ensure appropriateness and consistency in handling complaints the Director shall work with the Committee to establish procedures for taking action based upon the characteristics of the complaint.

A.  Mediation. The complainant, the Member who is the subject of the complaint, and Bureau administration must all agree before mediation can be conducted.  A complaint that undergoes mediation shall not be investigated. A mediation may be suspended if, in the opinion of the mediator, there is no reasonable likelihood of reaching resolution. 

B.  Complaint Types:

1.  Complaint Type I:  IPR is the intake point for complaints from community members and others regarding the conduct of members during an encounter involving a community member.  Type I complaints involve alleged misconduct of a member during an encounter involving a community member. 

2.  Complaint Type II:  A complaint about alleged member misconduct that does not occur during an encounter involving a community member is a Type II complaint.  Such a complaint may be initiated by another Bureau employee or supervisor, or may be based on information obtained from another law enforcement agency, an employee of governmental agency acting in an official capacity or a community member.  These complaints may be filed with the Bureau or with IPR.

3.  Complaint Type III:  A complaint may be initiated by the Director at the discretion of the Director that an administrative investigation is warranted.  IPR can initiate a complaint whether or not the alleged misconduct occurred during an encounter involving a community member and is not dependent on a community or Bureau member filing a complaint.

a.  IPR will initiate and conduct administrative investigations in accordance with Human Resources Administrative Rules regarding process and investigation of complaints of discrimination.

b.  If a criminal investigation has been initiated against the involved member, or during the course of an IPR administrative investigation a basis for conducting a criminal investigation arises, IPR shall advise the City Attorney and/or District Attorney prior to initiating or continuing an administrative investigation. IPR shall take all steps necessary to meet constitutional requirements and comply with existing provisions of City labor agreements.

4.  Complaint Type IV:  When Bureau supervisors generate complaints about poor member performance or other work rule violations.  RU managers are responsible for intake and investigation of allegations of Type IV cases. 

5.  For all complaint types, the Bureau shall notify IPR prior to the termination of any administrative investigation that has not been assigned for recommended findings.

C.  Initial Handling and Investigation of Type I Complaints

1.  Once IPR receives a Type I complaint regarding alleged misconduct of a member during an encounter involving a community member, IPR will: 

a.  Gather information about the complaint through an intake interview; 

b.  Assign an IPR/IAD Case Number;

c.  Make a case handling decision; and 

d.  Send a letter to the complainant summarizing the complaint and the Director’s case handling decision.

2.  If IPR determines an investigation is appropriate, IPR will identify the complainant’s allegations and either:

a.  Recommend that the Bureau/IAD conduct an investigation

IPR shall gather information from the complainant and forward it to the Bureau/IAD.  IPR shall monitor the on-going Bureau investigation.  The Director may determine that a Bureau/IAD investigation should also involve IPR personnel.  When forwarding the complaint to the Bureau/IAD the Director shall notify the IAD Commander of the extent that IPR personnel must be included in the investigation.  Bureau/IAD personnel shall schedule interviews and other investigative activities to ensure that IPR personnel can attend and participate.   

IPR personnel shall have an opportunity to review and comment on draft reports regarding a Bureau/IAD investigation to ensure accuracy, thoroughness, and fairness.  The investigation cannot be closed or sent to the RU manager without IPR’s determination that the investigation is complete.  

To facilitate review, IAD shall tape record all interviews with witnesses, including members of the Bureau, conducted during an IAD investigation and shall make those tapes, or accurate copies, available during a review of an IAD investigation.   In carrying out its functions, the IPR may visit IAD offices, examine documents, reports and files and take such other actions as the Director deems necessary and consistent with the purposes of this Chapter.  To maintain the security of IAD documents, reports or files, the Chief may require that the examinations be conducted in the IAD offices.

b.   IPR may conduct an independent investigation.    The Director shall have discretion to initiate and conduct an independent investigation of alleged member misconduct.  The Director may conduct an independent investigation whether or not the alleged misconduct involves an encounter with a community member.   

IPR investigations shall be conducted in conformance with legal and collective bargaining provisions.  The Director shall notify the IAD commander that IPR has undertaken an investigation and the reason.   

To facilitate review, IPR shall tape record all interviews with witnesses, including members of the Bureau, conducted during an investigation and shall make those tapes, or accurate copies, available during a review of an investigation.  

The Director shall provide the IAD commander and the Police Chief with a report on the investigation, and present the IPR investigation to the RU manager for preparation of findings and proposed discipline. At the completion of the investigation and any appeal process the records of the investigation shall be transferred to the IAD offices for retention.

3.   Referral.  IPR may refer a complaint regarding quality of service or other rule violations that likely would not result in discipline according to the Bureau.  The Director may refer the complainant to another bureau in the City or another agency that would be more appropriate to address the complaint. 

4.   Dismissal.  If IPR declines to take action on the complaint, IPR will send a dismissal letter to the complainant.  IPR will also notify the involved officer(s) and involved commanding officer within 30 calendar days of the dismissal.  The Director may dismiss the complaint for the following reasons:

a.  the complainant could reasonably be expected to use, or is using, another remedy or channel or tort claim for the grievance stated in the complaint;

b.  the complainant delayed too long in filing the complaint to justify present examination;

c.  even if all aspects of the complaint were true, no act of misconduct would have occurred;

d.  the complaint is trivial, frivolous or not made in good faith;

e.  other complaints must take precedence due to limited public resources;

f.  the complainant withdraws the complaint or fails to complete necessary complaint steps.

g.  it is more likely than not that additional investigation would not lead to a conclusion that the officer engaged in misconduct.

h.  lack of jurisdiction.

D.  Initial Handling and Investigation of Type II Complaints

1.  If a Type II complaint is filed with IPR, IPR will gather information about the complaint and make a case handling decision.  When appropriate, IPR will assign an IPR/IAD case number.  Before disposing of a complaint of alleged misconduct or initiating an investigation, IPR shall notify the Bureau in writing how it intends to process the complaint and whether it intends to refer the case to the Bureau/IAD to conduct an investigation or conduct an independent investigation as set forth below.  IPR will make an entry regarding the allegations in the Administrative Investigation Management (AIM) or other appropriate database which can be reviewed by the Director. 

2.  If a Type II complaint is filed within the Bureau, Bureau/IAD staff will create an intake worksheet and assign an IPR/IAD case number for use by IAD.  Before disposing of a complaint of alleged misconduct or initiating an investigation, the Bureau/IAD shall notify the Director in writing how it intends to process each complaint and whether it intends to conduct an internal investigation.  In addition, the Bureau/IAD will make an entry regarding the allegations in the Administrative Investigation Management (AIM) database or other appropriate database which can be reviewed by the Director.

3.  Bureau/IAD Investigation. If the Type II complaint is filed with IPR, IPR shall gather information from the complainant and forward it to the Bureau/IAD.  IPR shall monitor the on-going investigation.  The Director may determine that a Bureau/IAD investigation should also involve IPR personnel.  When forwarding the complaint to the Bureau/IAD, the Director shall notify the Bureau/IAD Commander of the extent that IPR personnel must be included in the investigation.  Bureau/IAD personnel shall schedule interviews and other investigative activities to ensure that IPR personnel can attend and participate.  

IPR personnel shall have an opportunity to review and comment on draft reports regarding a Bureau/IAD investigation to ensure accuracy, thoroughness, and fairness.  The investigation can not be closed or sent to the RU manager without IPR’s determination that the investigation is complete.  

To facilitate review, IAD shall tape record all interviews with witnesses, including members of the Bureau, conducted during an IAD investigation and shall make those tapes, or accurate copies, available during a review of an IAD investigation.   

In carrying out its functions, the IPR may visit IAD offices, examine documents, reports and files and take such other actions as the Director deems necessary and consistent with the purposes of this Chapter. To maintain the security of IAD documents, reports or files, the Chief may require that the examinations be conducted in the IAD offices.

4.  IPR independent investigation.  The Director shall have discretion to initiate and conduct an independent investigation of alleged member misconduct.  The Director may conduct an independent investigation whether or not the alleged misconduct involves an encounter with a community member.  

IPR investigations shall be conducted in conformance with legal and collective bargaining provisions. The Director shall notify the Bureau/IAD commander that IPR has undertaken an investigation and the reason.  

To facilitate review, IPR shall tape record all interviews with witnesses, including members of the Bureau, conducted during an investigation and shall make those tapes, or accurate copies, available during a review of an investigation.  

The Director shall provide the IAD commander and the Police Chief with a report on the investigation, and present the IPR investigation to the RU manager for preparation of findings and proposed discipline.  At the completion of the investigation the records of the investigation shall be transferred to the IAD offices for retention.

5.  Referral.  IPR may refer a complaint regarding quality of service or other rule violations that likely would not result in discipline according to the Bureau. The Director may refer the complainant to another bureau in the City or another agency that would be more appropriate to address the complaint. 

E.  Initial Handling and Investigation of Type III Complaints  

Upon opening a Type III IPR initiated complaint investigation.  IPR staff will create an intake worksheet and assign an IPR/IAD case number.  If a Type III case involves alleged member misconduct during an encounter involving a community member, the case will be handled following the same procedures as a Type I complaint.  If a Type III case involves alleged member misconduct that does not occur during an encounter involving a community member, the case will be handled following the same procedures as a Type II complaint.

F.  Initial Handling and Investigation of Type IV Complaints  

RU managers are responsible for intake and investigation of allegations of Type IV cases.  The RU manager will provide the Director a summary of the complaint and a summary of any subsequent investigation of a sworn member.  The Director may refer the matter to IAD for further investigation, conduct additional investigation, or controvert the RU manager’s recommendations and compel review by the Police Review Board after receiving the completed investigation. 

G.  Type I, II, III & IV Post-Investigative Case Handling Procedures:

1.  Adequacy of investigation.  When an investigation of any type of complaint is conducted by IAD or other designated PPB division, after the investigation is complete, IAD will provide the Director with a copy of and provide unrestricted access to the entire investigation file.  Upon review of the file, the Director or designee must determine whether or not the investigation is adequate, considering such factors as thoroughness, lack of bias, objectivity, and completeness.  If the Director determines that the investigation is not adequate, the investigation shall be returned to the IAD or other designated division within the Bureau explaining the determination and providing direction. Such direction shall include, but not limited to, rewriting portions of the summary, gathering additional evidence, conducting additional interviews, or re-interviewing officers or civilians. The investigation can not be closed or sent to the RU manager without IPR’s determination that the investigation is complete.  Upon receipt of IPR’s determination that the investigation is complete, IAD shall send the investigation to the appropriate RU Manager.

2.  Submission of recommended findings or proposed discipline.  The RU manager will review the investigation for any type of complaint when the investigation is conducted by IAD, other designated PPB division or IPR and submit recommended findings and proposed discipline to the supervising Assistant Chief.  The supervising Assistant Chief will circulate the recommended findings and proposed discipline to the Director and the Captain of IAD.  After receipt of the recommended findings and proposed discipline, the supervising Assistant Chief, the Director or the Captain of IAD may controvert the RU Manager’s recommended findings and/or proposed discipline. 

3.  Police Review Board meeting.  If the recommended findings and/or proposed discipline are controverted, the Bureau shall schedule a  Police Review Board meeting on the complaint. As specified in Code Section 3.20.140, the Police Review Board shall also hold a meeting for review of a case if it involves an officer-involved shooting, physical injury caused by an officer that requires hospitalization, an in-custody death, a less lethal incident where the recommended finding is “out of policy” or if the investigation resulted in a recommended sustained finding and the proposed discipline is suspension without pay or greater.

4.  Notification and Appeals of Type I and III complaints without Police Review Board meeting.  In Type I cases, and Type III cases where the alleged misconduct occurred during an encounter involving a community member, if the recommended findings are not sent to the Police Review Board for a meeting, the Director shall send a letter to the complainant explaining the disposition of the complaint and add any appropriate comment regarding the reasoning behind the decision. IPR will notify the complainant that they have a right to request a review of the Bureau’s recommended findings to the Committee and provide an appeal form.  The  Bureau will notify the involved member regarding the disposition of the complaint.  The Bureau will notify the involved member of the right to request a review of the recommended findings to the Committee.  The Bureau will be responsible for providing the member and union representative with the appeal form. A copy of the communications sent by IPR and IAD will be placed into the AIM database or other appropriate database for both IPR and IAD review.

5.   Notification and Appeals of Type I and III complaints after Police Review Board hearing.  In Type I cases and Type III cases where the alleged misconduct occurred during an encounter with a community member and the recommended findings are sent to the Police Review Board for a  meeting, the Director shall send a letter to the complainant explaining the disposition of the complaint and add any appropriate comment regarding the reasoning behind the decision. IPR will notify the complainant that they have a right to request a review of the recommended findings to the Committee and provide an appeal form.  The Bureau will notify the involved member regarding the proposed findings of the Police Review Board.  The Bureau will notify the involved member of the right to request a review of the recommended findings to the Committee.  The Bureau will be responsible for providing the member and union representative with the appeal form. A copy of the communications sent by IPR and IAD will be placed into the AIM database or other appropriate database for both IPR and IAD review.  

6.  No appeal of Type II and certain Type III complaints.  In Type II cases and Type III cases that involve alleged member misconduct that does not occur during an encounter involving a community member, the recommended findings may not be appealed to the Committee.

7.  Nothing in this section prohibits the Bureau from terminating the employment of a probationary officer without following the procedures of this Section.

8.  The Police Commissioner and the City Auditor shall be notified and provided with explanatory information in all cases where an administrative investigation exceeds 129 days, and the information posted on the City’s website.