"It's a personnel matter, and it's not at the level of a department head, so it's all confidential," Chief Brennan said.
Recent court cases have affirmed that high-ranking public employees such as department heads have less of a right to privacy than rank-and-file public employees, when it comes to personnel issues.
Speaking in general terms, Chief Brennan said that officers are routinely placed on leave for anything ranging from a criminal allegation to a citizen's complaint of rude behavior. The Atherton Police Department has 28 days to conduct an investigation and make a report of its findings to the person who lodged a complaint, Chief Brennan said.
Such reports simply say whether a complaint against an officer is sustained, not sustained, unfounded or if the officer has been exonerated, Chief Brennan said.
Last year, only one complaint was lodged against an Atherton officer, he said.
The reports are not considered public information, and they would not contain any information about disciplinary action that might be taken against an officer, he said. However, the public is entitled to know the number, and disposition, of complaints made against officers, Chief Brennan said.