Filing a Complaint

How to Make a Complaint About Service

You have several options available to you when you are not satisfied with the service you receive from an employee of the Sheriff's Office. Any immediate concern can be reported to the on-duty shift commander by calling the non-emergency number in the Communications Center at 651-439-9381. You may also call, visit, or write the Sheriff's Office. Another option available is to contact the Sheriff's Administration at 651-430-7601 during business hours and initiate your complaint.

By Mail or In Person

Write a letter or visit:
Washington County Sheriff's Office
15015 62nd St. N.
P.O. Box 3801
Stillwater, MN 55082-3801

By Email

Send an email to the Sheriff's Office.

By Phone

To contact the Sheriff's Office, call Sheriff Administration at 651-430-7601 or call the non-emergency number at 651-439-9381 and ask for the shift sergeant.

How Complaints are Resolved

At the conclusion of an investigation, the case file is sent to the sheriff for review and also provides a verbal account of the investigation. The investigator will recommend a disposition to the sheriff following a review of the facts of the case. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, the sheriff may take immediate action himself.

In all cases, the sheriff is the final decision-making authority.

Once the sheriff renders a final disposition, the complainant will be advised of the case disposition in writing. The possible dispositions are:
  • Unfounded - Allegation is false or not factual.
  • Not Sustained - Insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the incident.
  • Exonerated - Incident occurred but it was lawful and proper.
  • Sustained - Allegation is supported by sufficient evidence to justify a reasonable conclusion of guilt.
Discipline of any employee, if the complaint is sustained, may take several forms ranging from counseling to termination.

Although you may be informed of the disposition of your complaint and any actions taken against the employee, your statements, witness statements, peace officer statements, and other evidence obtained by the investigator will remain private pursuant to Minnesota Statute, Chapter 13.43, Subdivision 2. What this means is you can talk freely to a Sheriff's Office investigator without fear of revenge by any employee or fellow citizens.

Falsely Reporting Police Misconduct

Falsely reporting an act of police misconduct is a criminal offense.

Minnesota Statute 609.505, Subdivision 2. Falsely reporting police misconduct or police criminal activity is punishable as (1) a misdemeanor if the false information does not allege a criminal act; (2) a gross misdemeanor if the false information alleges a criminal act. Any person convicted will have to make full restitution not to exceed $3,000.