Ombud Program

The role of the City's Ombud Program is to review the decisions and actions of City personnel in any department. When a community member makes a complaint about a City staff person, the Ombud has the authority to evaluate the situation, document what occurred, and describe whether the situation fits into City policies, other applicable regulations, or expectations for constituent service. The Ombud has access to the City Attorney as well as any outside legal resources or other professional services required to fully investigate and evaluate the complaint. The role of Ombud is currently performed by the Deputy City Manager. 

The City's Ombud Program is available to assist you:

  • If you are unsure about which department to file your complaint
  • If you believe you received unfair treatment during an interaction with a City staff person
  • If you believe city staff has not provided you with quality customer service
  • If you seek information about other agencies that could help you

The Ombud provides a final verbal or written response to the original complainant. The written report is a public document and may or may not be posted on the City’s website as appropriate. The Ombud may also recommend actions to the City Manager regarding the complaint.

Complaints may be submitted online via our Ombud Program Contact Form, by email, through voicemail, on the phone, or through in-person meetings. Please note that communication with the City of Kirkland is subject to public records request.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this City provide mediation services for residents or business owners?

Kirkland residents are eligible to receive free mediation services from the Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center. This program is free for Kirkland residents through an agreement with the City of Bellevue. This program provides an opportunity to resolve issues between neighbors and/or business owners. For more information about the Bellevue Conflict Resolution Center call 425-452-4091.


I suspect that my neighbor or someone I know is violating Kirkland’s Zoning or Municipal Codes. How do I file a complaint?

City law authorizes City staff to investigate community-initiated complaints. If a violation has occurred, Code Enforcement Officer or other authorized City personnel will try to resolve it first through education, voluntary compliance, and/or negotiation. If this proves ineffective, then more formal enforcement proceedings may commence. Please see the City’s Code Enforcement Program for more information.


How do I file a complaint against a Kirkland police officer?

The City’s Ombud Program can respond to complaints against a Kirkland police officer. The Police Department will also accept and address all complaints of misconduct in accordance with their policies and applicable federal, state, and local law, municipal and county rules, and the requirements of any memorandum of understanding or collective bargaining agreements. It is also the policy of the Department to ensure that the community can report misconduct without concern for reprisal or retaliation.

Individuals from the public may make complaints in any form, including in writing, by email, in-person or by telephone. Personnel complaint forms are maintained in the lobby of the police department and are accessible through the department website.

Per Police Department policy, all complaints from community members will be courteously accepted by any Department member and promptly given to the appropriate supervisor. Additionally, any Department member becoming aware of alleged misconduct must immediately notify a supervisor. Supervisors must initiate a complaint based upon observed misconduct or receipt from any source alleging misconduct that, if true, could result in disciplinary action. If a supervisor is not immediately available to take an oral complaint, the receiving member must obtain contact information sufficient for the supervisor to contact the complainant. The supervisor, upon contact with the complainant, must then complete and submit an entry into the Department's electronic tracking system as appropriate. In addition, anonymous and third-party complaints should be accepted and investigated to the extent that sufficient information is provided.

Additionally, any member of the public may call or email individual members of the City Council with concerns about a Kirkland police officer. A complaint may be submitted through Our Kirkland, the City’s constituent response system on the City’s main webpage. A resident may also testify at a Council meeting or arrange to meet in-person with Councilmembers to express a concern about Police conduct. Councilmembers usually refer the complaints to the City Manager for review and action and reports back.


What if I’m not satisfied with the response from the City’s Ombud?

Oversight, transparency and accountability are top priorities for the City of Kirkland and the Kirkland Police Department. Civilian oversight of City of Kirkland personnel, including the Police Department, ultimately rests with the City Council, which is directly accountable to the public. If members of the public are not satisfied with the results of the complaint investigation from the Police Chief or the City Manager, they may contact the City Council to express their concerns. The City Manager reports directly to the Council and serves at their pleasure. The Council/Manager form of government provides the City Council with the authority to ensure that the actions of the Police Department reflect the values and expectations of the community.