File a Complaint or Commendation
We are not taking in-person complaints at this time.
To file a complaint, please call (206) 263-8870 or email email@example.com
Filing a commendation
If you wish to commend a member of the KCSO, you may call that person’s supervisor, write a letter, or fill out our commendation form, and mail it to the employee, his or her supervisor, or the Inspectional Services Unit.
Your remarks will be shared with the employee, his or her supervisors, and the Sheriff. A copy will be placed in the employee’s permanent employment record, and may be considered during performance evaluations.
You can also email your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Filing a complaint
OLEO may receive complaints from any complaining party, including members of the public or employees of the Sheriff's Office. Complaints received by OLEO are forwarded to the Internal Investigations Unit (IIU) of the King County Sheriff’s Office for further review. If a complaint is identified for investigation by IIU, OLEO independently reviews the completed internal investigation and certifies whether it was thorough and objective. The incident does not need to happen to you in order to file a complaint. Complaints will be accepted from anyone, regardless of age and immigration status. The Sheriff’s Office explicitly prohibits retaliation against any person who comes forward with concerns and complaints.
If you wish to file a complaint about an encounter with, or the service received from, a King County Sheriff's Office employee, you may do so in the following ways:
- File a complaint with the King County Sheriff’s Office directly. You may also contact the precinct directly and ask to speak to a supervisor. See precincts and jurisdiction.
- OLEO Community Guide to Filing a Complaint Against a Sheriff’s Office Employee, June 2020
This guide provides a roadmap to how complaints are processed, including the role of oversight, at the King County Sheriff’s Office. PDF linked here.
- Complete the online form and e-mail it to us at email@example.com, and we will forward your complaint to the Sheriff's Office IIU. (Note: the form cannot be saved online. You can fill it out online, but you will need to save it to your computer, or print it out and fill it out by hand.)
- Contact us by phone so we can write it down and forward it on to the Sheriff's Office IIU. The Sheriff’s Office explicitly prohibits retaliation against any person who comes forward with concerns and complaints.
- Qué puede esperar al presentar una queja contra la Oficina del Sheriff de King County – información en español
A complaint may be considered for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) if the allegation could be resolved better through talking and listening rather than through a formal disciplinary process.
Learning more about the complaint process:
OLEO receives complaints concerning Sheriff’s Office employees. Examples include but are not limited to complaints of:
- Use of unnecessary or excessive force
- Use of language or conduct that is insulting, demeaning, or humiliating
- Discriminatory treatment
- Ethics, conflicts of interest, and appearance of conflicts of interest
- Inappropriate use of authority
OLEO does not have authority to review the actions of any law enforcement agency other than the King County Sheriff’s Office.
OLEO does not oversee Sheriff’s Office criminal investigations or those involving Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) matters such as workplace discrimination or retaliation.
For complaints filed directly with OLEO, OLEO transmits the complaint to the Sheriff’s Office Internal Investigation Unit (IIU) for processing. IIU determines how complaints are handled, including complaints classification and whether a complaint warrants an investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office personnel investigating your complaint may ask you to give a statement in person or by telephone. With your permission, the statement may be recorded. You may be asked to describe what happened, to provide the name(s) and/or descriptions of the employee(s) involved, and to provide the names of any potential witnesses. In some cases, you may also be asked to allow photographs of any injuries or property damage and to consent to the release of medical records associated with your complaint.
If an investigation takes place, depending on the severity and complexity of the allegations, the complaint will be handled by either the Sheriff’s Office Internal Investigations Unit or a local commanding officer.
OLEO will monitor and track on-going administrative investigations conducted by IIU and may observe and participate in interviews conducted by the Sheriff’s Office. Once a finding is made, OLEO will review the investigative steps and make a determination, in writing, whether in our opinion the investigation was thorough and objective. OLEO can request that further investigative work be conducted if it would be material to the outcome.
An administrative investigation determines if an employee has violated the Sheriff’s office policies and procedures.
Administrative investigations should not exceed 180 days unless an extension has been approved. An exception is when a complaint also involves alleged criminal conduct that is also being reviewed.
If your complaint was investigated, you will receive a letter from the Sheriff’s Office notifying you of the outcome when the investigation is complete. You will also receive a letter from OLEO indicating whether our office certified the investigation as thorough and objective.
Any complaining party not satisfied with the findings of the Sheriff’s Office may contact OLEO to discuss whether or not OLEO certified the investigation and what criteria was used for determining whether it was thorough and objective. Inquiries related directly to the investigation or case outcome should be addressed by the Sheriff's Office.