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Filing a Complaint

We are not taking in-person complaints at this time. Here are alternative ways to file 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.

Note: 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.

Community Guide to Filing a Complaint Against a Sheriff’s Office Employee 

OLEO's guide provides a roadmap to how complaints are processed at the King County Sheriff’s Office, including the role of oversight. 

Filing a Commendation

If you wish to commend a member of the Sheriff's Office, 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: sheriff@kingcounty.gov.

 

Learning more about the complaint process:

OLEO receives complaints concerning  Sheriff’s Office employees.  Examples include but are not limited to complaints of: 

  • Harassment
  • 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.