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Frequently Asked Questions
No. IOLERO is an independent, non-police county agency.
Your complaint will be logged by IOLERO then investigated by Internal Affairs at the Sheriff’s Office. This is called an administrative investigation. When the investigation is completed, it is sent to IOLERO to be reviewed by the director who is a non-police auditor. The director of IOLERO will conduct an independent review of the Sheriff’s evidence and investigation and decide whether she agrees or disagrees with the Sheriff’s findings.
Please note that complaints against the Sheriff’s Office may be filed at their office or through IOLERO. However, If you want to ensure your complaint is audited by the IOLERO director, you should make the complaint through IOLERO. When a complaint originates at IOLERO, it will always be returned to IOLERO for an audit regardless of the basis of the complaint. If the complaint originates with the Sheriff’s Office, only cases involving excessive force, biased policing, search and seizure violations, sexual assault and dishonesty will be sent to IOLERO. For example, if a community member files a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office about rudeness, that complaint would not be sent to IOLERO for an audit. However, if a rudeness complaint is filed directly with IOLERO, it will be sent to the Sheriff’s Office for investigation and, the case will then be returned to IOLERO for an audit when the investigation is complete.
If the director of IOLERO disagrees with the Sheriff’s Office, she can make a recommendation to the Sheriff’s Office for further investigation or a different outcome.
Yes. You may make a complaint on behalf of yourself, a friend or a loved-one. You may also make a complaint about something you witness in the community even if you were not party to it.
Yes. You may file a complaint anonymously by putting the word "ANONYMOUS" in the name section of the complaint form and leaving the contact information blank. However, if your complaint is anonymous, please be advised that we will not be able to follow-up with you for additional information and we will not be able to notify you of the results the investigation. However, your anonymous complaint will be investigated and audited with the results included in our public reports.
If I make a complaint, and it is determined that a Sheriff’s deputy/employee violated a policy, what happens?
The Sheriff’s Office will decide what disciplinary action is appropriate based on the totality of the circumstances.
It depends on the case. Administrative investigations involve personnel issues and there are confidentiality laws and rules which must be followed. Upon request, you may be provided with a copy of the file related to your complaint, including disciplinary results, if your complaint involved (1) discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer; (2) an incident in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death or in great bodily injury; (3) Any record relating to an incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in sexual assault involving a member of the public; or (4) any record relating to an incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency of dishonesty by a peace officer or custodial officer directly relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or directly relating to the reporting of, or investigation of misconduct by, another peace officer or custodial officer, including but not limited to, any sustained finding of perjury, false statements, filing false reports destruction, falsifying or concealing of evidence. (See Cal. Pen. Code Section 832.7).
No. Your complaint will result in an administrative investigation and, if appropriate, disciplinary action against the deputy/employee. If you have suffered damage to your property or an injury, you must request a “claim review” through risk management and/or a separate legal action for any relief you are seeking.
For more information regarding filing a claim for money or damages for injury, property damage, or loss against the County of Sonoma, visit: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/HR/Liability/Incidents-and-Claims/
Filing a complaint and requesting a claim review does not satisfy statutory requirements for initiating a lawsuit against the County. It is a separate process.
No. IOLERO is an independent, non-police auditor’s office. Our job is to objectively review the administrative investigation done by Internal Affairs from a non-police perspective.
If you have a pending criminal case, you should discuss the best course of action for making your complaint with your attorney.
If you are in jail and your complaint involves use of force, biased policing (i.e. racism, sexism, etc.), sexual assault/misconduct, or dishonesty, your complaint will be automatically reviewed by IOLERO. At this time, IOLERO does not review grievances concerning issues such as commissary or lost property. Those grievances must go through the jail’s grievance process.
It depends. Every attempt is made to conduct thorough and complete investigations which may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing body-worn camera footage, and reading police reports and other records. The length of the investigation depends on the complexity of the complaint and each complaint is investigated first by Internal Affairs, then reviewed by IOLERO. Most investigations take between four and eight months to complete.