The Complaint Process Begins...
The complaint process begins when a complaint is filed against a sworn member of the Riverside Police Department. While the Internal Affairs Unit or their designee investigates all complaints, the Community Police Review Commission (CPRC) will review only those complaints filed against sworn personnel within six months of the incident that gave rise to the complaint.
Typically, all a person has to do to file a complaint is to contact the Riverside Police Department by phone or contact a member of the Department in person. If a complainant is uncomfortable going directly to the Department or a Department member, they may contact the CPRC in person, by phone, or they can complete an online complaint form. Once a completed complaint form is received by either the Riverside Police Department or the CPRC, the tracking process begins.
The Complaint Investigation
The Internal Affairs Unit classifies the complaint as a Category I (usually the most serious allegations) or Category II complaint. They are then assigned to an investigator. The sergeants in the Internal Affairs Unit handle all Class I complaints and a few Class II. The vast majorities of complaints investigated by the Department are Class II and are investigated by supervisors in the Field Operations or Investigations Divisions.
After the investigation is complete, the investigator's lieutenant, captain and deputy chief review it. Following that, the captain of the Personnel Services Division and the lieutenant over the Internal Affairs Unit conduct a final department review. After the Department completes its administrative procedures, the case is then sent to the CPRC for review.
The CPRC Review Process
All cases are entered into the CPRC tracking system when they are filed. When the CPRC receives the investigative report, it is logged in and then reviewed for thoroughness by the CPRC Manager. The Riverside Police Department's Conduct & Performance Manual, Section 10, Administrative Investigation, is the guideline for this review.
After the CPRC Manager's review, the reports are placed on the Regular Monthly Meeting agenda. A brief synopsis of the case is given to the commissioners who review the cases prior to the meetings. Then, in closed session, the commissioners deliberate and make a "Finding" on the allegations in each case. Along with the finding, they issue a "Rationale" that describes their reasons for the finding. In addition to describing their reasoning, the commissioners also use the "Rationale" to inform the Police Chief and his subordinates when they have a particular policy issue or concern they want to address.
After the findings and rationales are given on each allegation in each case, the cases are sent to the City Manager who, after reviewing the findings of the Commission and the Police Department, issues a decision on behalf of the City. That decision, which may or may not concur with either set of recommendations, becomes the City's position and all parties to the complaint are notified of the results. If the City's position contains a "Sustained" finding, the Police Chief, exclusively, determines what discipline to impose.