Bureau of Internal Affairs
The Riverside Police Department's Bureau of Internal Affairs investigates allegations of misconduct and improper job performance by the Department’s sworn and civilian personnel. In some cases, the allegations are made by the public in the form of personnel complaints; in other cases, misconduct is alleged by police employees or discerned during audits conducted by Internal Affairs. In addition, Internal Affairs reviews all incidents in which police employees are involved in traffic collisions, property damage, vehicle pursuits, uses of force, and police-dog bites.
Personnel Conduct Reporting Procedure
The Riverside Police Department is strictly accountable for its conduct. Police employees are expected to maintain high standards of integrity and ethics that ensure safety in the community and promote mutual respect and trust between police and Riverside’s citizens.
The purpose of the complaint policy is to establish a consistent procedure for the reporting, investigation, and disposition of complaints alleging misconduct or improper job performance by police employees. Such investigations must be thorough and impartial in order to protect the rights of residents and police employees and to maintain the Department's high level of integrity and efficiency.
The Department expressly recognizes the right of all persons, including non-citizens, to report, in good faith, a police employee's misconduct. All persons who file a complaint against any police employee shall be free from constraint, coercion, reprisal, or discrimination. If the complaining party does not speak English and does not have an interpreter, the Department will make every attempt to assist in completing the complaint form.
Complaints will be accepted without age discrimination. Depending on the urgency and seriousness of the allegations, complaints from minors are generally taken only with their parent(s) or guardian(s) present and after the parent(s) or guardian(s) have been informed of the circumstances prompting the complaint.
Filing a Complaint
Step One: COMPLAINT FORM
The Department has developed a form to be used for the complaint procedure. You may complete the form yourself, or a supervisor may complete it on your behalf. Once the written complaint is accepted, a copy of the complaint form will be given to you.
You are welcome to come to any of the following locations to fill out a complaint form:
Orange Police Station
4102 Orange St., Riverside, California 92501
Lincoln Police Station
8181 Lincoln Ave., Riverside, California 92504
Magnolia Police Station
10540 Magnolia Ave., Suite B, Riverside, California 92505
Community Police Review Commission
City Hall, 3900 Main St., 6th Floor, Riverside, California 92501; (951) 826-5509
If you do not wish to fill out the form at one of the above locations, you may also submit a complaint by telephoning the Department at (951) 351-6050 (Watch Commander, 24 hours).
The Investigation Process
Step Two: CATEGORIES OF COMPLAINTS
Each complaint is classified in one of the following categories:
Informal: After speaking with a Department supervisor, the complaining party is satisfied that appropriate action has been taken without a formal investigation.
Formal: The complaining party requests further investigation, or a Department supervisor determines that further investigation is warranted. Such complaints may be investigated by a Department supervisor of rank greater than the accused employee or by the Internal Affairs Bureau, depending on the seriousness and complexity of the investigation.
Incomplete: The complaining party either refuses to cooperate or becomes unavailable, despite diligent attempts to contact him or her. Complaints that cannot be investigated properly without contacting the complaining party need not be documented as formal complaints, but they may be further investigated, depending on the seriousness of the allegations and the availability of sufficient information.
Previous Administrative Review:The employee’s actions described by the complaining party were previously investigated during an administrative review of the incident. Such complaints need not be documented as formal complaints, but they may be further investigated, depending on the seriousness of the allegations.
Other Judicial Review: The complaining party has been accused or convicted of a crime and is alleging police misconduct in connection with the arrest and/or the events that led to it. Such complaints will not be documented as formal complaints if: (a) the employee’s conduct has already been adjudicated during a criminal or civil court proceeding, or (b) the complaint pertains to assertions of the complaining party’s innocence regarding the alleged crime. Additionally, complaints regarding an employee’s personal, non-duty-related civil matters, e.g., child-custody disputes, will not be documented as formal complaints.
Inquiry: The complaining party is merely requesting clarification of a policy or procedure, or the alleged misconduct or improper job performance, even if true, would not constitute a violation of law or Department policy or procedure. Such complaints need not be documented as formal complaints.
Frivolous: The complaint lacks any arguable basis or merit and/or was made for the purpose of harassing a police employee. Such complaints need not be documented as formal complaints.
Step Three: INVESTIGATION OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS
The complaint is sent to the Internal Affairs Bureau, where it is reviewed and assigned to the appropriate Division Commander or to Internal Affairs personnel for administrative investigation. If the employee is accused of criminal conduct, a supervisor or detective is assigned to investigate the criminal allegations separately from any administrative investigation. When the administrative investigation is completed, the Division Commander writes a memorandum containing a finding for each allegation in the complaint.
Personnel complaints submitted within six months of the incident in question are also investigated by the Community Police Review Commission (CPRC). At the conclusion of the Riverside Police Department’s investigation, all related documentation is submitted to CPRC for review and further investigation. To ensure that CPRC arrives at independent conclusions, the findings determined by the Riverside Police Department are not shared with the commissioners.
Step Four: FINDINGS
The CPRC completes its investigation and review of the complaint and renders findings for all allegations.
One of the following findings is issued for each allegation:
|Unfounded||The alleged act did not occur or did not involve Department personnel.|
|Exonerated||The alleged act occurred but was justified, lawful, and/or proper.|
|Not Sustained||The investigation disclosed insufficient evidence to sustain the allegation or fully exonerate the employee.|
|Sustained||The alleged act occurred and constituted misconduct.|
|Misconduct Noted||The Department member violated a policy or procedure not originally alleged in the complaint.|
Step Five: NOTIFICATION OF PARTIES
Within 30 days after the issuance of its findings, the City Manager’s Office sends letters to the complaining party and to the police employee, notifying them of the findings. By California law, the nature of any discipline imposed on the employee cannot be disclosed to the complaining party. If the complaint is sustained for criminal activity, the employee will be subject to criminal proceedings.
If the complaint was not reviewed by CPRC, the Bureau of Internal Affairs sends a certified letter to the complaining party to provide notification of the findings within 30 days after completion of the investigation.