All functions of Police & Safety Services work to provide outstanding service to the University community. We expect all members of our department to conduct themselves with professionalism and to treat every person with respect and dignity at all times. In order to achieve our goals, we encourage feedback from the community about how we are doing and what we can do to better serve.
While state law requires that our community has a mechanism to notify the University of improper conduct by department employees, it is also important that there is a way to recognize employees who go beyond the call of duty.
A personnel commendation may address an event that deem noteworthy on the part of a department employee. This may range from courtesy or compassion to significant heroic acts.
Commendations may be made by contacting the Chief of Police⁄Executive Director directly or by completing the form found on this page.
Penal Code 832.5 requires all police departments in the State of California to have a process by which a citizen can make a complaint against a peace officer. If you believe that any member of the department has mistreated you, violated your rights, or has otherwise been unprofessional in his or her conduct; you may file a complaint and have your complaint investigated.
The complaint process is to be used when it is believed that an officer’s conduct is inappropriate. The process is not to be used to dispute specific enforcement action taken by an officer, including the issuance of a traffic citation. Such disputes should be referred to the designated court.
In some cases, a complaint may be based on a misunderstanding of accepted law enforcement practices or department policy and procedure. A supervisor may be able to informally resolve complaints and clarify any issues where a misunderstanding has occurred. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an informal process, you may initiate a formal complaint.
Investigation of Complaints
After your complaint is filed, a Police Services employee, assigned by the Chief of Police, will promptly gather all available information pertinent to each allegation of misconduct in the complaint. The final disposition of the case will be made by the Chief of Police. You will be notified by letter, at the conclusion of the investigation. If a compliant is found to be sustained, the Chief of Police will determine and administer the appropriate corrective action.
Records of complaints are maintained for least five years.
Once completed, the investigative report will be reviewed by the Chief of Police, who will determine which of the following findings best suits the facts uncovered by the investigator:
- Sustained: The investigation revealed that sufficient evidence exists to clearly prove the allegation.
- Not Sustained: The investigation revealed insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.
- Exonerated: The investigation revealed that the alleged act(s) did occur, however, the act(s) were justified, legal, and proper.
- Unfounded: The investigation revealed that the alleged act(s) did not occur.
How to File a Commendation or Complaint
All complaints will be accepted by the department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Police Services encourages those who wish to file a complaint to submit their complaint as soon as practical after the incident and with as much detail as possible in order to ensure that a proper investigation can be conducted.
- In Person at Police & Safety Services
- By Phone – (707) 664-4444
- By Fax – (707) 664-3553 (This is a confidential fax line)
- By Mail – Sonoma State University, Police Services, Attn: Chief of Police, 1801 E Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
The Personnel Complaint & Commendation Form should be used to document any formal complaints or commendations. If you choose to file your complaint or commendation using a personal letter or other means, please be sure to state that you "wish to file a formal complaint or commendation" in your correspondence.
If you have general feedback regarding overall department operations or feedback regarding a Police & Safety Services employee, please feel free to email Chief of Police and Executive Director Nate Johnson. Please note that complaints against sworn police officers should be handled as Personnel Complaints, as described above.