CPRA Response on El Cajon Police Department Complaints
Citizens Oversight (2015-04-27) Ray Lutz
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1598
More Info: Cops Chapter SDEC
, El Cajon City Council
, Police Dept Oversight
The following emails and responses led up to this response
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:19:29 -0700
From: Ray Lutz
To: Douglas Williford ,
Subject: Request for complaints to police department.
Per CPRA law, please provide all citizens complaints regarding police officer activity for the past five years.
From - Tue Apr 28 08:43:47 2015
The City Attorney's office has asked for clarification on your request yesterday. Are you also seeking records regarding complaints that resulted in lawsuits?
We find we need further clarification with respect to your above referenced request.
1. Please let us know if your request for "citizen's complaints regarding police officer activity" includes claims for damages such as, auto accidents resulting in damage to a citizen's car or activity allegedly resulting in property loss; complaints about confiscation of animals or other animal matters; vehicle tows; slow response times; and similar matters that do not substantially implicate civil rights or use of force.
Please describe in detail the kinds of "police officer activity" for which you are seeking records.
2. Are you seeking complaints about individual officers or general police officer activities?
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Barbara C. Luck, Staff Attorney
City of El Cajon
200 Civic Center Way
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 441-1798 - Phone
(619) 441-1772 - Fax
We were informed that they would not provide the actual complaints, so we made this request:
As you can imagine, it is difficult to request the right documents because we are probing blindly into the documents you hold without knowing what you have in advance. Since we want to reduce our document requests to a minimum, I would like to withdraw this request and modify as follows:
1. Please provide written procedures for evaluating, tracking, processing, etc. complaints regarding activities of members of the police dept. This includes both by complaints generated by the public and by other police dept members.
2. Please provide any reports, summaries, digests, etc. that have already been prepared for the past five years regarding complaints as defined in #1 or similar. So these reports might have the total number of complaints in various categories, whether they were completed, left open, resulted in lawsuits, resulted in officer reprimand, dismissal, etc. etc. probably without actually giving us the actual complaints. Also provide any associated action plans to reduce the number of complaints received.
3. Please provide a count of complaints and # of pages, files, etc. or idea of the scope of the result if we request the actual complaints for cases in the following categories (for the past 5 years).
A. Complaints by members of the police dept regarding activities of other members of that department. This would include complaints of a sexual harassment nature.
B. Complaints by members of the public that members of the police department sexually harassed them.
C. Complaints of the use of lethal or excessive force, such as the use of a fire arm, choke hold, tazer, pepper spray, etc.
4. Please provide the written procedure used to review the use of lethal force or fatality as a result of police department activity even if no complaint was generated.
The above is requested per Calif. Public Records Act and related laws. Please be as broad as possible in any definitions that may otherwise limit the result. For example, if we say "police officer" we do not mean to limit this to just "officers" and not "detectives, chiefs, branch heads, secretaries, clerks, etc" So that is why I tried to use the term "members of the police department." Same would be true of other terms that might be taken in a very narrow definition, we wish to make sure these are broadly defined.