Citizen Complaint Process

Our Policy 

It is the policy of the Fountain Valley Police Department to investigate all complaints against the department or its employees. This ensures the integrity of the department while protecting the rights and interests of both citizens and department employees. The following is a brief synopsis of what you may expect to happen:
  

The Interview 

A police supervisor will interview you about your complaint. He/She will ask you questions about what happened. It is possible that the supervisor may be able to explain the employee's action(s) to your satisfaction. You may be asked to fill out a complaint form so that we can properly investigate your complaint.

Normally you will be interviewed at the Fountain Valley Police Department. You may expect the interview to be audio recorded.

The supervisor will ask you for the names of all witnesses and other police department employees that may know facts about your complaint. It is important to have as much information as possible.

Evidence processing may take place as related to your complaint.
  

The Investigation 

After the initial interview, a supervisor or Lieutenant will be assigned to conduct the investigation.  All involved employees and witnesses will be interviewed. You may also be asked for more information.

Most investigations take no more than 30 days to complete, some may take longer based on circumstances. 
  

The Review 

Upon completion, the investigation will be reviewed by a Police Captain, who will recommend an appropriate disposition to the Chief of Police.
 
The Disposition

The completed investigation will be classified into one of the four dispositions:

  1.  Sustained - The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to substantiate that the department member committed all or part of the alleged acts of misconduct.
  2. Not sustained - The investigation produced insufficient information to clearly prove or disprove the allegations.
  3. Unfounded - The investigation determined the alleged act did not occur.
  4. Exonerated - The investigation revealed the alleged act occurred, but was legal, proper and in full compliance with Department regulations.

After a thorough investigation of the complaint, the Chief's Office will promptly notify you in writing of the disposition of your complaint.