(a) Applicability; Rights. As used in this section, member shall mean an employee of the Police Department who has peace officer status as defined in California Penal Code Section 830.1. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any member of the Police Department who has not completed the period of probation in his or her entry level position, as provided in Section 1011(a). Non-tenured Police officers, where otherwise entitled by law to a hearing or appeal with regard to proposed or imposed discipline, shall be provided a hearing or appeal under procedures promulgated by the Chief of Police.
The rights of a member, except the Chief of Police and any other member in a position exempt from civil service, to hold his or her office or position and to receive compensation attached to the office or position is hereby declared to be a substantial property right of which the holder shall not be deprived arbitrarily or summarily, nor other than as provided in this section. No member shall be suspended, demoted in rank, suspended and demoted in rank, removed, or otherwise separated from the service of the department (other than by resignation), except for good and sufficient cause shown upon a finding of guilty of the specific charge or charges assigned as cause or causes after a full, fair, and impartial hearing before a Board of Rights, except as provided in subsections (b) and (i). No case of suspension with loss of pay shall be for a period exceeding 65 working days.
(b) Temporary Relief from Duty; Suspension; Demotion. After following predisciplinary procedures otherwise required by law, the Chief of Police may:
(1) temporarily relieve from duty any member pending a hearing before and decision by a Board of Rights on any charge or charges pending against the member, except that a member so relieved shall not suffer a loss of compensation until 30 days after the date on which the member was served with the charge or charges, except as provided for in subsection (q) or whenever the employee is temporarily relieved of duty on a new charge or charges while relieved of duty or serving a suspension based on a prior charge or charges. There shall be a calendar priority for Board of Rights hearings when a member is subject to relief from duty pending a hearing. The Chief of Police in his or her sole discretion shall have the power to cancel temporary relief from duty, or following relief from duty, to restore the member to duty with or without restrictions pending hearing; or
(2) suspend the member for a total period not to exceed 22 working days with loss of pay and with or without reprimand, subject to the right of the member to a hearing before a Board of Rights as provided in this section; or
(3) demote the member in rank, with or without suspension or reprimand or both, subject to the right of the member to a hearing before a Board of Rights as provided in this section; or
(4) demote the member in rank, with or without temporary relief from duty or cancellation of such relief from duty, subject to the right of the member to a hearing before a Board of Rights as provided in this section.
In the event the member suspended and/or demoted in rank under this subsection files an application for a hearing by a Board of Rights as provided in this section, the suspension and/or demotion shall automatically be stayed pending hearing and decision by the Board of Rights. Provided, however, in the case of any member demoted in conjunction with a temporary relief from duty or cancellation of such relief from duty, the demotion shall not be stayed pending a hearing before and decision by a Board of Rights unless the accused specifically requests in the written application that the Board consider the demotion in conjunction with the appeal of the temporary relief from duty or cancellation of such relief from duty. In the event that the member fails to apply for a hearing within the period prescribed, the member shall be deemed to have waived a hearing, and the suspension and/or demotion shall remain effective unless the Chief of Police requires that a hearing be held.
(c) Limitations Periods. No member shall be removed, suspended, demoted in rank, or suspended and demoted in rank for any conduct that was discovered by an uninvolved supervisor of the department more than one year prior to the filing of the complaint against the member, except in any of the following circumstances:
(1) If the act, omission, or allegation of misconduct is also the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal prosecution, the time during which the criminal investigation or criminal prosecution is pending shall toll the one-year time period.
(2) If the member waives the one-year time period in writing, the time period shall be tolled for the period of time specified in the written waiver.
(3) If the criminal investigation is a multi jurisdictional investigation that requires a reasonable extension for coordination of the involved agencies.
(4) If the investigation involves more than one employee and requires a reasonable extension.
(5) If the investigation involves an employee who is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable.
(6) If the investigation involves a matter in civil litigation where the member is named as a party defendant, the one year time period shall be tolled while that civil action is pending.
(7) If the investigation involves a matter in criminal litigation where the complainant is a criminal defendant, the one-year time period shall be tolled during the period of that defendant’s criminal investigation and prosecution.
(8) If the investigation involves an allegation of workers’ compensation fraud on the part of the member.
(9) If a predisciplinary notice is required or utilized and the response results in additional investigation, the one-year period shall be tolled while the additional investigation is pending.
(d) Complaint. Any order of relief from duty, cancellation of relief from duty pending a Board of Rights hearing, suspension, demotion in rank, or suspension and demotion in rank shall contain a statement of the charges assigned as causes. The Chief of Police shall, within five days after the order is served as provided in subsection (e), file with the Board of Police Commissioners a copy of a verified written complaint upon which the order is based, with a statement that a copy of the order and verified complaint was served upon the accused. The complaint shall be verified by the oath of the Chief of Police and shall contain a statement in clear and concise language of all the facts constituting the charge or charges.
(e) Service. The service of any notice, order, or process mentioned in this section, other than service of subpoena, may be made by handing the accused a copy personally. If a copy of any notice, order or process cannot with reasonable diligence be personally served, service may be made by United States mail.
(f) Application for Hearing. Within five days after personal service upon the accused of a copy of the verified complaint, or within ten days after service in any other manner provided for in this section, the member may file with the Chief of Police a written application for a hearing before and decision by a Board of Rights. A Board of Rights is considered a de novo hearing.
(g) Time and Place of Hearing. Upon the selection of a Board of Rights, the Chief of Police shall set the time for (not less than 10 nor more than 30 days thereafter) and designate a place where the hearing is to be held, and shall cause notice thereof to be served upon the accused. After the Board of Rights has first convened, the Board may continue the hearing of the matter to a specific date, and no other notice need be given, except as may be required by order of the Board.
(h) Composition of Board of Rights. The Board of Rights shall be composed of two officers of the rank of captain or above and an individual who is not a member of the department (the civilian member), except as provided in the second paragraph of this subsection below. The members selected as prescribed in this section shall constitute the Board for the purpose of hearing and deciding upon the matter for which it was specially drawn. The qualifications of, selection procedures for, and compensation of the civilian members shall be established by ordinance. Upon the filing of the request for a hearing before a Board of Rights, as provided in subsection (f), the accused shall draw four cards from a box containing the names on cards of all officers who are qualified to be members of the Board of Rights (except the names of the accused, accuser, the Chief of Police, any staff or command officer specifically exempted by the Chief of Police in accordance with the provisions of the Board of Rights Manual or successor document, and any other officer who may be prejudiced or disqualified by reason of being a material witness to the facts constituting the charges made, otherwise disqualified for cause as determined by the Chief, or who has a conflict of interest). The accused shall select any two of the four names drawn to be members of the Board of Rights.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Council may adopt an ordinance providing the accused the option of having the complaint heard and decided by a Board of Rights composed of three individuals who are not members of the department (three civilian members) instead of a Board composed of two officers and one civilian. The qualifications of, selection procedures for, and compensation of the civilian members shall be established by ordinance. If the Council adopts an ordinance providing the option for an all civilian Board of Rights as described in this paragraph: the ordinance shall not apply to any complaint that has been filed by the Chief of Police with the Board of Police Commissioners prior to the effective date of the ordinance; the Council shall not repeal the ordinance for at least two years after it is adopted; and the department shall submit a report to the Council evaluating the effectiveness of the ordinance at the end of the two-year period.
(i) Failure to Request a Hearing; Failure to Appear. In the event the accused fails to request a hearing before a Board of Rights as provided in subsection (f) within the period prescribed, the Chief may require a hearing to be held before a Board of Rights and may for that purpose, within five days after the expiration of such period, draw two names from a box to sit on the Board.
If a Board of Rights has been constituted for the purpose of hearing and the accused, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to appear before the Board at the time and place designated, the Chief of Police may, at his or her discretion, either direct the Board of Rights to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the accused, or the Chief may, without a hearing, impose a penalty of suspension, demotion in rank, suspension and demotion in rank, or removal as he or she deems fit and proper. The Chief shall cause notice of the action to be served upon the member and shall file a statement of the action with the Board of Police Commissioners within five days.
If the accused and Chief both fail to draw and create a Board of Rights within the period prescribed, the complaint shall be null and void.
(j) Oaths, Affirmations and Subpoenas. During an internal investigation, prior to a Board of Rights hearing, or prior to or during other administrative proceedings, the Police Commission may compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence by subpoena. Upon demand of the Police Commission, the City Clerk shall issue a subpoena in the name of the city and attest the same with the corporate seal. The subpoena shall direct and required the attendance of the witnesses or the production of evidence, at the time and place specified. A request to quash a subpoena may be filed with the Police Commission who shall decide the matter. Each Board member shall have the power to administer oaths and affirmations in any investigation or proceeding pending before a Board of Rights, examine witnesses under oath, and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence by subpoena. Upon demand of any Board member, the City Clerk shall issue a subpoena in the name of the City and attest the same with the corporate seal. The subpoena shall direct and require the attendance of the witnesses or the production of evidence, at the time and place specified. It shall be the duty of the Chief of Police to cause all such subpoenas to be served upon the person or persons required to attend or produce evidence. It shall be the duty of the Council to provide suitable penalties for disobedience of such subpoenas and the refusal of witnesses to testify or produce evidence.
(k) Legal Advice; Ex Parte Communication. Upon the request of any two Board members, the Board’s chairperson shall request an attorney from the City Attorney’s office who shall advise the Board on legal matters during or between any session of the hearing. The attorney need not be physically present at the hearing, but may advise the Board telephonically or through other means of communication. The attorney who advises the Board may not advise the department’s advocate in the same matter.
Ex Parte communication with members of a Board of Rights regarding the subject matter of the hearing while proceedings are pending is prohibited. No person shall attempt to influence the decision of a Board of Rights except during the hearing and on the record.
(l) Burden of Proof. In Board of Rights proceedings, the department shall have the burden of proving each charge, including those based on conduct punishable in whole or in part as a crime, by a preponderance of the evidence.
(m) Representation; Transcript; Evidence. At the hearing, the accused shall have the right to appear in person and by counsel or representative, (at his or her expense) and make defense to the charge or charges and may produce witnesses and cross-examine witnesses.
All testimony at the hearing shall be given under oath and shall be reported by a stenographer for possible transcription. Upon prepayment of the fee for the preparation thereof, the accused shall be entitled to a certified copy of the transcript; provided, however, when the department has previously had all or a portion of the report transcribed, a copy of the previously prepared report(s) shall be given to the member without charge. When the report is transcribed, the original transcript shall be placed on file in the department.
Evidence of acts, irrespective of whether they were associated with a personnel complaint against the accused and irrespective of the resolution of the complaint, may be considered in the discretion of a Board of Rights if relevant to the charges, such as, if the acts tend to prove that the conduct charged is consistent with a pattern of conduct. The acts may have occurred either before or after the conduct concerning which the member is presently charged.
(n) Finding and Decision. The Board of Rights shall at the conclusion of the hearing make findings of guilty or not guilty on each charge, which findings shall be based only upon the evidence presented at the hearing. If the accused is found not guilty, the Board shall order the member’s restoration to duty without loss of pay and without prejudice, and the order shall be self-executing and immediately effective. If the accused is found guilty, the Board of Rights shall prescribe its penalty by written order of:
(1) suspension for a definite period not exceeding 65 working days with total loss of pay, and with or without reprimand; or
(2) demotion in rank, with or without suspension or reprimand or both; or
(3) reprimand without further penalty; or
The decision of the Board must be certified in writing and a copy delivered to the Chief of Police as soon as practicable, but in no event later than ten days after the decision of the Board of Rights. Whenever a Board of Rights prescribes a penalty of suspension or removal and the member is not currently relieved from duty, the Chief may temporarily relieve the member from duty pending execution of the order.
For purposes of this section, demotion in rank shall mean reduction in civil service classification. The provisions of this section shall not apply to reductions in pay grade or similar personnel actions caused by reassignment, deselection from bonused positions, and the like. Such personnel actions shall be administered under policies adopted by the department.
(o) Personnel History and Records. The departmental personnel history and records of the accused shall be available to the Board of Rights only if the accused has been found guilty of any charge upon which the member was heard or tried by the Board of Rights, and then only for the purpose of determining a proper penalty. At the penalty stage, the Board may consider the entire departmental personnel history and record of the accused which shall include, among other things, information concerning personnel complaints against the accused that were sustained and information derived from complaints against the accused that were not resolved, to the extent and in the manner allowed by department policy except that the medical package of the accused shall not be considered by the Board with regard to penalty unless such information is relevant to a charge as to which there was a finding of guilty. In prescribing the penalty, the Board shall look to the nature and gravity of the offense of which the member has been found guilty and may at its discretion review the departmental personnel history and record of the member. No item or entry in the record may be considered by the Board except in the presence of the member and only where the member has been given a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain any item or entry unless the member has failed or refused to be present. Personnel records introduced at or considered by the Board are confidential except for any document or information from a document that was publicly disclosed during the hearing.
(p) Imposition; Reduction of Penalty. Within ten days of delivery of a certified copy of the decision of a Board Rights to the Chief of Police, the Chief shall either uphold the recommendation of the Board of Rights or may, at his or her discretion, impose a penalty less severe than that ordered by the Board Rights, but may not impose a greater penalty. In the case of a demotion, suspension, demotion and suspension, or removal, the Chief shall cause a copy of the notice of the penalty to be served upon the member and shall file a statement of this action with the Board of Police Commissioners within five days.
(q) Effective Date of Penalty. A removal prescribed by the Board of Rights, or by the Chief of Police if no hearing is had before a Board of Rights, shall relate back to and be effective as of the date of the relief from duty without pay pending hearing before and decision by the Board; however, where a final decision has been made by the Chief of Police prior to the end of the 30 day period referred to in subsection (b)(1), the removal shall be effective immediately. When there has been no relief from duty, the removal shall be effective upon service of the order. The effective date of any suspension and/or demotion prescribed by the Board of Rights, or by the Chief of Police if no hearing is had before a Board of Rights, shall be determined by policies adopted by the department; provided, that in case of suspension where there has been a temporary relief from duty, the 30 day period referred to in subsection (b)(1) or any portion thereof in which the member received compensation shall not be counted as part of the suspension. Nothing in this section shall preclude the imposition of a suspension without pay when a final decision is made prior to the end of the 30 day period. Practices in effect on the effective date of the most recent amendment to this section shall remain in effect until the adoption of any modification to the policies.
(r) Calendar Days. Except as otherwise provided in this section, all time periods, including those of limitation, shall be calculated in calendar days. When the last day of any such period falls on a weekend or City holiday, the period shall extend to the next business day.
(s) Not Guilty. In any case of a finding of Not Guilty of the accused after a hearing before a Board of Rights, the finding of Not Guilty shall be without prejudice to the member.
(t) Rehearing. At any time within three years after the effective date of removal, the removed member may file a request with the Chief of Police to be reheard or to be heard on the cause of the member’s removal, together with a supporting affidavit setting forth in clear and concise language the reasons or grounds for a hearing or rehearing. The Chief shall consider and make a decision on the request and affidavit within 30 days after filing. If the Chief determines that good reason or cause exists for a hearing or rehearing, the Chief shall, without unnecessary delay, cause a Board of Rights to be constituted for the purpose of hearing and deciding upon the matter. The Board of Rights shall, at the conclusion of the hearing, render and certify its findings (independent of any previous findings by any other Board of Rights, or any other court, Board, or other tribunal, or any investigation or report of or discretion exercised by the Chief in such cases where no hearing was had before a Board of Rights) based only upon the evidence presented at the hearing. The Board shall make and certify its decision and order in writing and deliver a copy to the Chief. The Chief shall proceed in the same manner as provided for above after decision by a Board of Rights.
(u) Modification of Penalty. Following the filing of the notice of penalty with the Board of Police Commissioners as required in subsection (p), the Chief of Police may correct a technical error, or where there is good cause shown, may reduce a penalty, including restoration of a person following removal. The provisions of subsection (w) shall not apply to this subsection; however, the member shall receive full compensation for any penalty or portion thereof already served which has been reduced or nullified by the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police shall file a copy of the modified order or statement of his decision with the Board of Police Commissioners.
(v) Other Legal Rights. This section shall not be construed to affect any rights a member may have to assert other legal rights or remedies in relation to his or her office or position or to the compensation attached thereto, or to appeal to or be heard or tried by any court or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction.
(w) Restoration to Duty. A member restored to duty after removal or temporary relief from duty, or whose suspension or demotion has been overturned in whole or in part, shall be entitle to receive full compensation from the City as if the nullified penal action had not been taken; except that such compensation shall not exceed one year’s salary unless otherwise required by law.
(x) Decisions Based on Evidence. Members of a Board of Rights are to make decisions based solely on the evidence before them.
(y) Public Records. The order referred to in subsection (d) and the notice of the penalty referred to in subsection (p) are considered to be a public record at the time of filing of such documents with the Board of Police Commissioners. The Chief of Police or his or her designee shall be the custodian of public records referred to in this section.
(z) Effects of Amending This Section. This section shall not apply to the discipline of any member who was relieved from duty or who appealed a demotion or suspension or both to a Board of Rights prior to its effective date. Matters arising out of such relief from duty, demotion or suspension shall be adjudicated in accordance with applicable prior Charter provisions.
Amended by: Charter Amendment 1, approved April 10, 2001, effective May 5, 2001; Subsec. (h), Charter Amendment C § 1, approved May 16, 2017, effective June 14, 2017.