Learn how to file a complaint or commendation
Berkeley, California (Friday, July 02, 2021) - People seeking to file a complaint about Berkeley Police Officer misconduct or a commendation for good actions have a new body they can reach out to investigate complaints: the Office of the Director of Police Accountability.
This new office assumes the duties of the former Police Review Commission but wields greater powers to investigate complaints, has broader access to police records and has more time to investigate a complaint before making potential findings or a recommendation.
The Director of Police Accountability, who is appointed by the City Council, would submit findings and recommendations to the Police Accountability Board, a 9-member body appointed by the City Council that can make recommendations on discipline.
Learn more at the inaugural meeting on July 7th.
Police Accountability Board Inaugural Meeting
Wednesday July 7, 7:00 pm
Participate by phone: (669) 900-6833; Meeting ID: 811 7262 3383
Know timelines, rules for filing a complaint
Know the rules. Complaints must be filed within 90 days of the incident. Complaints may be accepted as a late file between 91 and 180 days of the incident, subject to the approval of the Police Accountability Board.
You can download the complaint form or contact the Director of Police Accountability by email, phone, fax or in person. You can return the completed form via mail, email, fax or in person.
Office of the Director of Police Accountability
1947 Center Street, 5th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 981-4950
Fax: (510) 981-4955
TDD: (510) 981-6903
Walk-in hours: 10 am - 2 pm, Monday - Friday
By appointment: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday - Friday
Expanded powers, new structure
This new board was created when voters approved a measure that the City Council placed on the November 2020 ballot. In the process, the board assumed many of the duties of the former civilian oversight body, the Police Review Commission, which was phased out as part of the measure.
The City Council appoints the director and establishes the budget. Each councilmember appoints one board member.
The Director of Police Accountability has more time to conduct investigations than the PRC did, and may now recommend discipline. The director has greater access to police records, including unredacted records. Existing federal and state laws still mandate certain confidentiality provisions for police records.
Director and board can also review policy
If the Board agrees that a policy review is warranted, they may take appropriate action, including initiating an investigation or establishing a subcommittee to review the policy.
The Board may recommend that the Police Department adopt or revise a policy. It will send the recommendation to the Chief of Police or City Manager, who will consider whether to implement it.
The Board could also decide that no policy change is warranted.
Police department also investigates complaints, takes commendations
Civilian investigations by the Director of Police Accountability are handled separately from internal investigations by the Berkeley Police Department, which also investigates complaints alleging officer misconduct and includes incidents reported by other officers.
Depending on internal Berkeley Police investigation findings, the police chief will issue discipline.
Personnel and police misconduct complaints reported directly to the Police Department are done by phone, email, or in person at the Public Safety Building:
Berkeley Police Internal Affairs
2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
As part of the newly increased civilian oversight of police misconduct, those dissatisfied with the outcome of an internal Berkeley Police investigation may appeal to the Director of Police Accountability.
Those dissatisfied with the police investigation must file their objection to the Director of Police Accountability within 20 days after the notice is sent. The Director would not initiate a new civilian investigation but instead review the police department's investigation.
The Director can bring the case before the Police Accountability Board, which could agree or disagree with the chief and the decision could be overturned.
Because the appeal of a police department investigation is limited in its scope, those seeking full civilian review should file their complaints with the Director of Police Accountability.
For more information, see the Berkeley Police Department complaints and commendations page.