Internal Affairs Division
Sheriff Patrick Withrow
To The Citizens of san Joaquin County
As the Sheriff of San Joaquin County, I take all allegations of misconduct by members of my office seriously. In order to build a foundation of trust with all members of our community, it is imperative that mutual accountability is at the foundation. Mere dissatisfaction with the merits of laws enforced does not, on its face, warrant sufficient grounds for a formal complaint.
When allegations of misconduct are brought to our attention, a fair and objective investigation will be conducted in order to obtain all pertinent and available facts. Depending on the severity of proven allegations or policy violations, some complaints may be addressed through training, formal discipline, or a combination thereof. It is the goal of the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that all employees maintain a strong moral compass and ethical behavior.
You may file a complaint against any member of the Sheriff’s Office by calling the Internal Affairs Division Shift Supervisor at (209) 468-4689 or the Internal Affairs Sergeant at (209) 468-4560 or (209) 468-4728. We are open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, nights and weekends.
You have the option of filing your citizen’s complaint in person, by telephone, or by utilizing this form to submit a written statement. An investigator from Internal Affairs Division will be assigned to contact you, interview all Sheriff’s Office personnel involved in your complaint. Complaints may be made anonymously, however, the Internal Affairs Division will not contact you.
If circumstances indicate that there will be an extensive delay in the investigation, you will be notified of the appropriate date of the conclusion of the matter.
Each citizen’s complaint will be judged on its own merit. After the investigation, your complaint will be classified into one of six categories:
The investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur as described by the complainant, or that the employee named was not involved.
The incident or allegation which provided the basis for the complaint or allegation occurred; however, the investigation revealed that the action taken was justified, lawful, and proper.
The investigation failed to reveal enough evidence to prove or disapprove the allegations.
The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to prove the allegation made in the complaint.
Should the investigation reveal improper conduct by a member of the Office, then corrective action will be initiated in accordance with policies and procedures established by this Office. Such actions may include counseling, retraining, or discipline, up to and including dismissal. You will be notified, either by telephone or mail, of the final classification of your complaint, unless you have to chosen to remain anonymous.
If you have any questions on the results of the investigation, you may call the Internal Affairs Division investigator assigned to your complaint.
If a claim or other litigation is filed concerning the circumstances under investigation, we will be unable to discuss the matter or otherwise release information.
Citizen complaints assist the Office in maintaining quality law enforcement services. Additionally, they assure the citizens that corrective action is taken if there is misconduct by a member of this Office. Further, a thorough and impartial investigation procedure protects members of the Office from unwarranted accusations.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE A COMPLAINT AGAINST A POLICE OFFICER FOR ANY IMPROPER POLICE CONDUCT. CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES THIS AGENCY TO HAVE A PROCEDURE TO INVESTIGATE CITIZENS’ COMPLAINTS. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO A WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF THIS PROCEDURE. THIS AGENCY MAY FIND AFTER INVESTIGATION THAT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO WARRANT ACTION ON YOUR COMPLAINT; EVEN IF THAT IS THE CASE, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THE COMPLAINT AND HAVE IT INVESTIGATED IF YOU BELIEVE AN OFFICER BEHAVED IMPROPERLY. CITIZEN COMPLAINTS MUST BE RETAINED BY THIS AGENCY FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS.
IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT YOU KNOW TO BE FALSE. IF YOU MAKE A COMPLAINT AGAINST AN OFFICER KNOWING THAT IT IS FALSE, YOU CAN BE PROSECUTED ON A MISDEMEANOR CHARGE (PC 148.6(a)(1)).