Local Law Enforcement Agency Complaints

If you have a complaint against a police officer or sheriff's deputy, you should first direct your complaint to the local law enforcement agency regardless of whether you are alleging criminal or non-criminal misconduct. Each law enforcement agency in California is required by Penal Code section 832.5 to establish a procedure to investigate complaints. You can obtain a written description of the procedures from the law enforcement agency.

If you are alleging that a law enforcement officer committed a crime and your complaint is not resolved by your complaint to the agency, you should next contact the county district attorney in the county where the law enforcement agency is located. Most complaints against local law enforcement can be resolved by contacting the aforementioned agencies.

If these agencies do not act on your complaint within a reasonable period of time, you may file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office. The Attorney General will review citizen complaints against a law enforcement agency or its employees for possible investigation when substantive allegations of unlawful conduct are made and all appropriate local resources for redress have been exhausted.

If you are seeking legal advice, assistance to reverse a conviction or in an appeal, or because you would like to pursue a claim or seek relief related to a particular incident, we are unable to provide you with that advice or represent you. We recommend that you consult with an attorney who can provide you with legal advice and/or pursue a claim or action on your behalf. You may obtain a referral to a certified lawyer referral service by calling the State Bar at 1-866-442-2529 (toll free in California) or 415-538-2250 (from outside California), or via their website at: https://www.calbar.ca.gov. If you cannot afford to pay an attorney, you may consider contacting your local legal aid office. For a referral, visit https://lawhelpca.org/ and click on the Find Legal Help tab.