File a Complaint Against a Berkeley Police Officer
The Office of the Director of Police Accountability (DPA) accepts and investigates complaints alleging misconduct by sworn members of the Berkeley Police Department.
How to File a Complaint Against a Berkeley Policy Officer
To file a formal complaint, you must complete and submit a Complaint Form to the Office of the Office of the Director of Police Accountability (DPA).
To obtain the complaint form
- Contact the DPA Office by phone, email, or fax, to request a form, OR
- Come to the DPA Office to pick up the form, OR
- Download the form here.
To return the complaint form
Mail, email, fax, or bring the completed form to the DPA Office.
Office of the Director of Police Accountability
1947 Center Street, 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the date of the incident.
Exceptions: The filing deadline may be tolled (temporarily suspended) for persons who were incapacitated or in some other way prevented from filing a complaint; these persons should discuss possible tolling with DPA staff. Persons with pending criminal charges related to the incident may delay filing a complaint until their criminal case is resolved; these persons should consult an attorney before filing.
You will have the option of choosing mediation instead of an investigation. DPA staff will discuss this option with you.
Mediation offers the chance to resolve your complaint directly with the officer, while a neutral professional mediator facilitates the process. In contrast, an investigation is resolved by the DPA and Police Accountability Board, and could result in disciplinary action against an officer.
You may represent yourself or obtain a representative, but one is not required.
As a complainant, you have certain responsibilities.
- You must be available for an interview with a DPA Investigator.
- You should provide contact information for any witnesses to the incident.
- You must inform DPA staff if you move or change your contact information.
- You must attend the hearing.
Procedure - Preliminary
- After you are interviewed, DPA staff will continue its investigation by interviewing the subject officer(s) and witnesses, and collecting other relevant evidence.
- Following an investigation, the Director will prepare a report of the findings and recommendations of whether discipline is warranted. In certain cases of serious misconduct, a recommendation about the level of discipline will be included.
- The findings and recommendations will be presented to the Police Accountability Board, who will decide whether a hearing should be held.
Procedure - Hearing
- If a hearing will be held, you will be contacted before it is scheduled, and will receive a written notice at least a week before the hearing date.
- During the hearing, which is closed to the public, the Board will hear testimony from you, the subject officer(s), and any witnesses. The commissioners and the subject officers(s) or their representatives may ask you questions.
- The Board will then deliberate, and agree, disagree, or modify the Director’s findings and recommendations.
- The findings are then sent to the Chief of Police. If the Chief agrees, they will issue a final decision.
- If the Chief disagrees, they will send a tentative decision to the Director. The Director may do nothing, and the Chief’s decision becomes final. Or, the Director may ask the City Manager to review the case. The City Manager’s decision will be final.
Procedure - No Hearing
- If, after receiving the Director’s findings and recommendations, the Board decides not to holding a hearing, the findings and recommendations are sent to the Chief of Police.
- If the Chief agrees with the Director, the Chief will issue a final decision.
- If the Chief disagrees with the Director, the Chief will send a tentative decision to the Director. The Director may do nothing, and the Chief’s decision becomes final. Or, the Director may ask the City Manager to review the case. The City Manager’s decision will be final.
- If, at any point before or during its investigation, DPA staff determines that the complaint is frivolous, retaliatory, or fails to allege facts that constitute misconduct, DPA staff may recommend that the Board close the complaint. Closure may also be recommended if staff is unable to contact you.