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How to File a Complaint

Personnel Complaints

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department considers its relationship with the community to be of great importance and encourages everyone to express their opinions regarding the performance, professionalism, and conduct of our employees. To achieve this goal, it is important that all complaints against members of the department be thoroughly investigated. We want to know when our service needs to be improved, and also to provide a means for members of the community to notify us of grievances against departmental members.

The following is information on how to make a formal complaint and answers some commonly asked questions about our procedures.

In what form may I make my complaint?

Complaints are accepted in writing, and in person. To make a complaint, download your form below under Related Files.

Take the completed form to any Sheriff’s station or mail the form to:

Orange County Sheriff's Department
Attention: Internal Investigations Unit
PO Box 449,  Santa Ana, CA 92703

Who will investigate my complaint?

  1. Complaints can be handled by the appropriate Division Commander or by our Internal Investigations Unit. Complaints can be made during normal business hours at most of our stations located throughout the county. If this is impractical, you may telephone the Internal Investigations Unit at (714) 834-5548.
  2. After normal business hours, complaints can be made to the Sheriff's Department Commander at (714) 647-7000. The Department Commander will take information regarding the complaint and forward it to the appropriate division.
  3. Written complaints will also be accepted. Please use the attached “Personnel Complaint Form.” Upon receipt of the written complaint, an investigator or other member of the department may interview you.

If I write my complaint, why do you want to talk to me?

The department wants to do a complete investigation of all sincere complaints. Department employees are also interviewed, which can lead to a version of events that varies from what is written by a complainant. Fairness to both sides requires that involved parties and witnesses also be interviewed in an attempt to ascertain the truth. Certain facts, recollections, or evidence not originally considered by the complainant could be vital in determining the facts of the incident. 

What will happen to the Department Employee?

That will depend on what (if anything) the employee did wrong. If the actions were criminal, the employee will be dealt with like any other civilian. If the behavior was improper, but not criminal, the employee may be disciplined by the Sheriff to the degree warranted by the individual situation. Disciplines can range from reprimands through suspensions to termination. 

Will I be informed regarding the outcome of the investigation?

Yes, you will receive written correspondence from the department within 30 days of the disposition of the case (CPC 832.7).