Sacramento Police Department Confidential Reports
Subject of Investigation
The Sacramento Police Department has within its organization a unit known as the Internal Investigation Section.' This section is responsible for the receipt and investigation of complaints against both sworn and non-sworn employees of the Department.
Reason for Investigation
The Jury received a complaint which reported that Internal Investigation Section files were being copied and distributed outside the Police Department and, in some cases, outside city agencies. This practice violates the law requiring the Chief of Police to be the custodian of these files.
The Jury conducted a number of interviews and site-visits.
The Jury found that Internal Investigation Section files are being copied and distributed by the Police Department in accordance with approved procedures. When a case is appealed, the Police Department sends two copies of the file to the City Labor Relations Department. That Department transmits one copy to the Employees' Representative and one copy to the City Attorney, or to the City's contract attorney. Once the appeal is settled, the City Attorney returns his copy of the file to the Labor Relations Department.
At the time of the Jury's initial interviews, it was the Labor Relations Department's policy that these files be retained forever. The Grand Jury was told that the files were retained so discipline could be measured for consistency.
The Jury questioned the fact that only the appealed cases were being measured: If an employee did not appeal the level of discipline, it was irrelevant to future decisions, but an appealed decision was one that would be archived forever. The Labor Relations Department policy has been modified as of this writing, but is still not in compliance with the law requiring the Police Chief to be the sole custodian of confidential Internal Investigation Section files. Further, the Jury's investigation found that contract attorneys may be retaining copies of these files after the case has been litigated.
The Police Department has in place a policy that governs the purging of the Internal Investigation Section files as required by the Penal Code. Annually, the Department sends a list of cases eligible for destruction to the City Attorney for confirmation. The City Attorney marks those cases that are subject to litigation, returns the list to the Police Department, and the balance of the files are purged and destroyed.
The Grand Jury recommends that:
· The City develop policies and procedures to ensure the purging and destruction of confidential Internal Investigation Section files within the scope and intent of the law
· The Sacramento Police Department adopt policies and procedures to document review and distribution of all confidential Internal Investigation Section files
· The Sacramento Police Department develop and implement a process whereby all copies are marked in such a way that secondary copying can be traced
· Only the Chief of Police maintain confidential Internal Investigation Section files
The Penal Code requires responses to the recommendations contained in this report be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Sacramento Superior and Municipal Courts by September 30, 1996, from:
Sacramento City Council