The Sebastopol Police Department is a full-service law enforcement agency tasked with providing public safety services to our Sebastopol community. The department is organized into three divisions – Administration, Operations, and Technical and Support Services – and is managed by the Chief of Police, Police Captain, and Records Manager/Dispatch Supervisor. Our Police Sergeants, Police Officers, Dispatchers, Police Technician, Reserve Officers, and Community Service Volunteers work collaboratively with our community to deliver professional police services and provide a safe environment for our residents and those who work and visit our wonderful city.

Core Values

Mission Statement

To provide a safe environment and enhance the quality of life in our community through exemplary public safety services.

Vision Statement

We strive to be a model of excellence by providing professional public safety services with integrity and accountability and partnering with our community.

Core Values

Integrity: We are committed to candor, honesty, and ethical behavior with each other and with those we serve.

Service Orientation: We deliver to the public, to our fellow city employees, and to ourselves, supportive and professional service that promotes human rights, mutual respect, and courtesy.

Responsibility and Accountability: We are responsible for our actions. We make effective use of our resources and provide a spirit of open communication within our community. We are accountable to our community, ourselves, and the law enforcement profession.

Honoring Our Heritage: We never forget our history and how this agency evolved into a modern service provider that never lost its sense of community and hometown atmosphere, yet constantly plans for the future. We are mindful of those who served before us, and we include them in this family.

Professional Excellence: We strive for excellence in everything we do. We model excellence by maintaining high standards in training and service to our community by keeping abreast of new trends and technology in the law enforcement profession.

Promoting Teamwork: Each member’s contribution is worthwhile, important, and necessary to the continued success of our organization as it relates to the profession, to the community, and to our city government. Our collective strength comes from the diversity contributed by each team member and the recognition that we are all equally integral to the success of our organization.

Org Chart

The Sebastopol Police Department is committed to building stronger relationships with our community. One of the most significant ways to build stronger relationships is to meet the expressed desire our community has voiced for increased transparency. The greater access to your police department you have, the more our relationship and mutual trust will grow. Our Transparency page provides increased access to the Sebastopol Police Department and information you may find interesting and helpful.

Just as we evolve to better meet the needs of our community, our website will evolve as well. All the information will be continuously updated, and the online services we offer will be improved. However, this will not happen overnight, and so we greatly appreciate your patience while we collect and compile the data necessary to provide you with a clear picture of who we are, what we do, and how we can improve.

Please feel free to click the links below to learn more about our department and provide feedback.

Open Policing Feedback Platform

There is a growing body of research on people’s perceptions of fairness in dealing with law enforcement and public institutions. This research has shown that people’s perception of the quality of police encounters depends less on outcomes, but more on whether they feel treated in a fair or procedurally just way. Research has demonstrated that the four pillars of procedural justice – Respect, Fairness, Voice, and Trustworthiness – are vital for building trust and increasing legitimacy in policing. Every encounter between the Sebastopol Police Department and those we interact with is an opportunity for public feedback. All feedback is an opportunity to increase engagement, dialogue, and showcase the outstanding work and positive interactions our department personnel have each day.

The Sebastopol Police Department is teaming with OpenPolicing.org to create increased transparency and provide our community with greater insight to our interactions. OpenPolicing.org is a platform that allows people we interact with to provide feedback about the interaction in a timely manner. All interactions will provide those we interact with the opportunity to utilize a QR code or website to provide feedback.

We greatly appreciate your time and we look forward to hearing from our community.

Department Diversity Data

Each individual in an organization brings with them a diverse set of perspectives, work and life experiences, as well as religious and cultural differences. The power of diversity can only be unleashed and its benefits reaped when we recognize these differences and learn to respect and value each individual irrelevant of their background. Sebastopol Police Department personnel were asked to participate in an anonymous survey that highlights some of their characteristics and experiences and allows for our community to see the diversity our SPD personnel bring to our department and our city.

Complaint Data

A relationship of trust and confidence between members of the Sebastopol Police Department and the community we serve is essential to effective law enforcement. Police officers and department members must be free to exercise their best judgment and to initiate law enforcement action in a reasonable, lawful and impartial manner, without fear of reprisal. Likewise, police officers and department members have a special obligation to respect the rights of all persons.

The Sebastopol Police Department acknowledges its responsibility to establish a system that allows our community to provide commendations, complaints, and comments, along with procedures that recognize the good work they do and recommendations for improvement. The Sebastopol Police Department also acknowledges its responsibility to establish a system of accountability and corrective action when a department member conducts himself/herself improperly, but also will protect him/her from unwarranted criticism when he/she discharges his/her duties properly. It is the purpose of these procedures to provide a prompt, equitable, open and expeditious disposition of commendations, complaints, and comments regarding the conduct of any members of the Department and the Department as a whole.

The below complaint data reflects information regarding complaints that resulted in internal affairs investigations. The complaint types resulting in internal affairs investigations are determined based on the Sebastopol Police Department’s Standards of Conduct as defined in the Sebastopol Police Department Policy Manual. The following definitions are provided to help clarify the information listed in the below complaint data table.


Affiliation: Business, Resident, Non-Resident

Unfounded: When the investigation discloses that the alleged act(s) did not occur or did not involve Department personnel. Complaints which are determined to be frivolous will fall within the classification of unfounded.

Exonerated: When the investigation discloses that the alleged act occurred, but that the act was justified, lawful and/or proper.

Not Sustained: When the investigation discloses that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the employee.

Sustained: When the investigation discloses sufficient evidence to establish that the act occurred and that it constituted misconduct.


Affiliation: Non-Resident
Complaint Type: Discourteous, Exceeding Lawful Peace Ofc. Powers, Failure to Conduct an Initial Investigation
Year: 2021
Disposition: Unfounded

Use of Force Data

In late 2015, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 71 (AB 71), adding Government Code Section 12525.2. This statute mandates law enforcement agencies (LEA) in California report use of force incidents that result in serious bodily injury or death or involve the discharge of a firearm. Effective January 1, 2016, all LEAs were required to begin collecting data on use of force incidents for submittal to the Department of Justice (DOJ) beginning January 1, 2017.

The Sebastopol Police Department complies with this reporting requirement and reports all qualifying use of force incidents to the DOJ. The Sebastopol Police Department reports all use of force incidents on a rolling five year basis. SPD has not had any AB 71 reportable use of force incidents during this reportable period. You can also obtain data on statewide use of force incidents at the State of California’s Open Justice website at https://openjustice.doj.ca.gov/.

A use of force is defined as any level of physical force employed by an officer beyond that which is necessary to handcuff a compliant subject. Examples include, but are not limited to, a takedown, the use of personal body weapons, physical restraint of a non-compliant subject, any force that results in visible injury to a person, deadly force, control holds or pain-compliance techniques on a non-compliant subject, use of a restraint device, deployment/activation of any less-lethal device (e.g., Taser, baton, chemical weapon, etc.), K-9 bite, or the direct and intentional pointing of a firearm at a person(s). It is not a use of force when a subject submits to a search, submits to commands by an Officer and allows himself/herself/themself to be handcuffed or otherwise detained, or surrenders to a show of force, such as the display of an Officer’s weapon(s) or a K-9 prior to actual deployment.

The Sebastopol Police Department’s Use of Force Policy can be viewed at Policy 300. Additional data regarding Sebastopol Police Department’s use of force incidents can be viewed by clicking on the below chart links.

Racial Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) Stop Data

Assembly Bill (AB) 953 enacted The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (RIPA) into law which, among other things, requires each California law enforcement agency (LEA) employing peace officers to annually report their stop data to the Attorney General. As defined in the regulations guiding RIPA Stop Data collection, a “stop” is any detention by a peace officer of a person or any peace officer interaction with a person in which the officer conducts a search. This data include both pedestrian and vehicle stops.

The data elements are statutorily mandated by the regulations underlying RIPA and include person-level and stop-level information (e.g., actions taken, reason for stop). Officers are required to record their perception of the identity characteristics pertaining to each stopped person, including their; race or ethnicity, gender, approximate age, lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender (LGBT) status, English fluency, and disability. Officers are prohibited from asking the person stopped to self-identify these characteristics. Consequently, officer perceptions of identity characteristics may differ from how an individual self-identifies.

AB 953 requires an agency that employs one or more but less than 334 peace officers to issue its first annual report by April 1, 2023. The Sebastopol Police Department falls under this requirement. RIPA Stop Data can be found at https://openjustice.doj.ca.gov/exploration/stop-data.

Independent Audit Information

In 2020, the Sebastopol City Council contracted Jerry Threet, former Director of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach and Chair of the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights, to complete and independent audit of the Sebastopol Police Department’s overall policies, practices, training, and organizational culture. On June 17, 2021, the Sebastopol City Council and community received an independent review report from Mr. Threet, who presented recommendations based on his independent review.

The below document shows the status of each recommendation made in the report.


SPD Policies and Procedures for Community Review and Feedback

It is important that the Sebastopol Police Department’s policies and procedures be reviewed continuously in order to comply with new or updated legislation. Additionally, the continuous review of our policies and procedures allows for increased efficiency and the utilization of best practices.

Additionally, the following policies, which are incorporated into the Sebastopol Police Department Policy Manual during each update, are posted in compliance with legislative action that may require their own unique posting.

Finally, feedback from our community is important to us, and we would like to provide our community with the opportunity to review proposed policies and procedures that we are considering. Anytime SPD proposes a new or updated policy or procedure, we will post the proposed policy or procedure to this section of our website for a minimum of 30 days for review, unless an exigency exists. If you would like to provide feedback, please email to rnelson@sebpd.com and note the specific section(s) of the policy or procedure you are referring to in your email.



Department Staff

Ron Nelson

Chief of Police

TEL: (707) 829-4400
EMAIL: rnelson@cityofsebastopol.gov
FAX: (707) 829-0967