Chapter 4.5. Peace Officers - California Penal Code Section 832.5
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California Laws > Penal Code > Chapter 4.5. Peace Officers - California Penal Code Section 832.5
832.5. (a) (1) Each department or agency in this state that employs
peace officers shall establish a procedure to investigate complaints
by members of the public against the personnel of these departments
or agencies, and shall make a written description of the procedure
available to the public.
(2) Each department or agency that employs custodial officers, as
defined in Section 831.5, may establish a procedure to investigate
complaints by members of the public against those custodial officers
employed by these departments or agencies, provided however, that any
procedure so established shall comply with the provisions of this
section and with the provisions of Section 832.7.
(b) Complaints and any reports or findings relating to these
complaints shall be retained for a period of at least five years. All
complaints retained pursuant to this subdivision may be maintained
either in the peace or custodial officer's general personnel file or
in a separate file designated by the department or agency as provided
by department or agency policy, in accordance with all applicable
requirements of law. However, prior to any official determination
regarding promotion, transfer, or disciplinary action by an officer's
employing department or agency, the complaints described by
subdivision (c) shall be removed from the officer's general personnel
file and placed in separate file designated by the department or
agency, in accordance with all applicable requirements of law.
(c) Complaints by members of the public that are determined by the
peace or custodial officer's employing agency to be frivolous, as
defined in Section 128.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or unfounded
or exonerated, or any portion of a complaint that is determined to
be frivolous, unfounded, or exonerated, shall not be maintained in
that officer's general personnel file. However, these complaints
shall be retained in other, separate files that shall be deemed
personnel records for purposes of the California Public Records Act
(Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1
of the Government Code) and Section 1043 of the Evidence Code.
(1) Management of the peace or custodial officer's employing
agency shall have access to the files described in this subdivision.
(2) Management of the peace or custodial officer's employing
agency shall not use the complaints contained in these separate files
for punitive or promotional purposes except as permitted by
subdivision (f) of Section 3304 of the Government Code.
(3) Management of the peace or custodial officer's employing
agency may identify any officer who is subject to the complaints
maintained in these files which require counseling or additional
training. However, if a complaint is removed from the officer's
personnel file, any reference in the personnel file to the complaint
or to a separate file shall be deleted.
(d) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) "General personnel file" means the file maintained by the
agency containing the primary records specific to each peace or
custodial officer's employment, including evaluations, assignments,
status changes, and imposed discipline.
(2) "Unfounded" means that the investigation clearly established
that the allegation is not true.
(3) "Exonerated" means that the investigation clearly established
that the actions of the peace or custodial officer that formed the
basis for the complaint are not violations of law or department
Last modified: February 16, 2015