Submitting a Commendation or Complaint


Commending Superior Performance

If you wish to commend the action of any Exeter Police Department employee, you can:

  • Ask to speak to the employee’s supervisor and verbally communicate your praise, or
  • You can write a letter to the Chief of Police explaining your praise.

Commendations received by the Chief of Police for any Exeter Police Department employee will result in advising the employee of your gratitude and in permanently recording his/her actions and your appreciation in the employee’s personnel file.

Complaint Procedure

Our Policy

It is the policy of the Exeter Police Department to investigate all complaints against the department or its employees. Maintaining a positive relationship and ensuring the integrity of the department while protecting the rights and interests of both citizens and department employees are essential to effective law enforcement.

It is important that adequate provisions be made for the prompt receipt, investigation, and disposition of complaints regarding Department personnel.  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 and attempt to obtain as much information as possible regarding the incident. It is possible that the supervisor will be able to explain the employee’s action(s) to your satisfaction.

Normally you will be interviewed at the Exeter Police Department. You may expect to be audio taped during the interview.

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 interview, the Police Department will investigate your complaint. Investigators will typically come from the Command and Supervisory Staff although an outside investigator may be utilized depending on the circumstances.

Your concerns may be investigated in one of two ways:

An informal investigation may be conducted without requiring a letter of disposition, if for instance, the complaining party:

  • Is satisfied that appropriate action has been taken by a Department supervisor.
  • 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.
  • Withdraws the allegations(s), refuses to cooperate, or becomes unavailable.

Makes an allegations(s) that lacks any arguable basis or merit and/or was made for the purposes of harassment

If an informal investigation is not deemed appropriate, a formal investigationwill ensue.  These investigations require investigators to contact witnesses, including police officers, examine any relevant physical evidence, review video, and gather all information pertinent to each allegation made in the complaint.  You may also be contacted for additional information.  The Chief of Police or designee will render a finding in each case.

The Disposition

The results of the completed formal investigation will be classified into one of the six categories below:

  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 Departmental regulations.
  5. Not Involved – The investigation determined that the accused officer(s) were not involved in the alleged act.
  6. Suspended – The investigation cannot be completed due to the inability to contact the complainant(s), essential witnesses, or the complainant(s) is non-cooperative.

After a thorough investigation of the complaint, you will receive written notification from the Chief’s Office of the disposition and whether disciplinary action will be taken. Discipline may include counseling, training, and action up to and including termination.

Your Rights After the Disposition

The Police Department will not condone, and will take severe disciplinary action against, those employees who cause harassment, tacit or otherwise, of complainants, witnesses or any other person connected to any internal investigation.  Notify the Department immediately if you suspect violation of any of the above.

Responsibility – Ours and Yours

The Exeter Police Department views all citizen complaints against its employees very seriously and actively pursues investigations into misconduct. For this reason, you must ensure that your complaint is based on fact and you have provided us with all of these facts to the best of your ability. Your valid concerns and feedback help us protect the community from possible misconduct by employees.  At the same time, a thorough and impartial investigation procedure helps protect employees from unwarranted charges when they perform their duties properly.

You should know that intentionally making a false report to this department could result in criminal and/or civil legal proceedings being filed against you.

Our Commitment to You…

Employees of the Exeter Police Department shall at all times strive to be courteous and professional in their dealings with citizens. It is the hope of the Exeter Police Department that all of your contacts with our officers are positive. If not, we will endeavor to resolve the complaint to your satisfaction in a prompt and objective way.

Our Goal

The Exeter Police Department is committed to maintaining a positive relationship with the community and to correcting any possible adverse actions, practices and attitudes that may contribute to community tensions and grievances.

Our officers are sworn to protect the rights of all citizens regardless of race, age, gender, nationality, religion or political preference. If you feel that an employee of this department has acted in an abusive or unprofessional manner, you are encouraged to report that employee to a police supervisor.

How to Make a Complaint

To make a complaint you may call, write, or come in person.

Exeter Police Department
100 N. C Street
Exeter, CA 93221

(559) 592-3103

You may download a complaint form here to bring in or mail to the Department.

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