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CITIZENS COMPLAINT/SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

SUMMARY A citizen who was required to take a driving test after a traffic stop filed a letter of complaint with the Sheriff's Department alleging that he had been treated unfairly because of his age. The citizen did not receive a written response from the Sheriff's Department. BIBLIOGRAPHY California Vehicle Code - 21650 ­ Right half of the roadway, failure to drive on. California Penal Code ­ 830 ­ Defines the rules of what a peace officer is. California Penal Code ­ 831 ­ Defines who is a peace officer California Penal Code ­ 832 ­ Defines the training requirement to become a peace officer. California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Form 427 ­ Re-examination rules and requirements. BACKGROUND A Siskiyou County Deputy Sheriff stopped a senior citizen for driving erratically on July 4th, 2008. The Deputy interviewed the citizen and released him after the interview. The Deputy followed the citizen for a few blocks then left the area. The citizen later received a form letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ordering him to retake the physical driving test. He complied with the request, and then sent a letter to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office complaining about the incident. APPROACH The Grand Jury conducted an interview with a member of the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office and interviewed the complainant citizen by telephone. The Grand Jury reviewed the California Vehicle Code, Section 21650, and the DMV form, DS 427. In addition, the Grand Jury reviewed The California Penal Code, Sections 830, 831, and 832. FINDINGS F1 Anyone who meets the requirements under DMV form 427 can be ordered to retake the driving test. Age is not a factor in determining licensing. In this case erratic driving was the issue. Although a complaint form is required the citizen sent a letter to the Sheriff's Department about the incident. The citizen did not receive a written response to his letter. Not filling

F2

out a complaint form may have added to the lack of response. The Sheriff's Office had misplaced the letter. Once the letter was located the Deputy contacted the citizen and answered the concerns. A new Personal Complaint Procedure, adopted in October, 2008, should eliminate this problem. F3 F4 The Sheriff's Office acted within its authority and, under the circumstances, followed procedures as set down by state law. Deputy training meets all requirements set forth by the State of California Peace Officers Standard of Training (P.O.S.T.) for traffic enforcement under Penal Code section 832.

RECOMMENDATIONS R1 R2 When filling in the descriptive section of DMV form 427 the Deputy should write his/her actual observations. One person within the Sheriff's Office should be responsible for all aspects of the citizen complaint process including receiving the complaint, providing complaint forms, assigning investigators, tracking the complaint process, and sending the results to the complainant. A. Two letters should be sent in every case where a citizen has complained about a Deputy. The first letter should be sent acknowledging that the complaint has been received. The second letter should be sent at the conclusion of the investigation. B. If an official citizen complaint form is required by the Sheriff's Office, the form needs to be easily available. The form should be available at city offices, county offices, and on the County's web site. REQUEST FOR RESPONSES Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the Grand Jury requests responses as follows: From the following individual: Siskiyou County Sheriff: R1, R2.

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CITIZENS COMPLAINT/SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT