Vallejo, CA – The City has periodically received requests to publicly release the report of an independent investigator hired by the City to investigate allegations into what has been referred to as “badge bending” activity within the Vallejo Police Department. As has previously been stated, the City of Vallejo is prohibited from releasing the investigation report because it is a peace officer personnel record subject to the confidentiality requirements of California Penal Code § 832.7(a).
Pursuant to Section 832.7, unless one of the statutory exceptions applies, the personnel records of peace officers and information obtained from these records are confidential and may not be publicly disclosed. Disclosure in violation of this section carries both criminal and civil liability. See 82 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 246 (1999); Operating Engineers Local 3 v. Johnson, 110 Cal. App. 4th 180 (2003).
It has been alleged in multiple legal proceedings that an exception should apply to the investigation report in question, or that the report is not subject to the confidentiality provisions outlined above on various legal theories. The investigation’s status as a confidential, peace officer personnel record that is not subject to an exception for public disclosure has been confirmed by all three judges who have ruled on that issue to date. However, that status is being challenged yet again in a pending petition under the California Public Records Act which has not yet been heard by the Court. As such, the City remains legally prohibited from releasing the report to the public.
We are aware that individuals are being encouraged to attend the City Council meeting this Tuesday 9/12/23 to speak to this issue. We are mindful this is an emotional and controversial issue and ask that the public be aware of this legal requirement for the City regarding any release of the investigatory report.