The Angleton Police Department recognizes that its employees are responsible for their conduct where the public is concerned. The department also acknowledges that, at certain times, conflicts between citizens and agency employees can arise. It is essential to the safety of our community that the relationship between police and citizens is built on confidence and trust. Law enforcement cannot be effective without this vital conviction by both entities.
Police Officers must be free to exercise their best judgment and initiate proper action in a reasonable, lawful, impartial manner, without fear of reprisal. At the same time, they must observe the rights of all people. The complaint process and appropriate disciplinary procedures not only subject agency members to corrective action when they conduct themselves improperly; the guidelines also protect them from unwarranted criticism when they discharge their duties properly.
Disagreements vs. Complaints
A disagreement over the validity of a citation is not a complaint. Such disagreements should be directed to the court that has jurisdiction in the matter.
The Police Department realizes that confusion, different perceptions, or the timeliness of information sometimes will result in descriptions that produce different versions of the same incident. Beyond legitimate error; however, the deliberate making of a report that the complainant knows is false or misleading could constitute a violation of state law.
The complaint process is designed to deal with each case factually and fairly. Citizens who file complaints are treated respectfully, and their accusations are taken seriously. All complaints are investigated thoroughly, and all findings are based on impartial evidence gained during the investigation.
However, many complaints can be explained satisfactorily by a visit or telephone call to the employee's supervisor. The supervisor will talk with you about the complaint and try to resolve it.
The Professional Standards Sergeant is available Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to discuss your complaint about any member of the department.
There are two classes of complaint. The first and most serious, a Class I complaint alleges the violation of a law or other serious allegations such as serious misconduct, excessive force, criminal activity, or abuse of authority. The second, a Class II complaint includes allegations of a less serious nature and may concern violations of departmental policy.
Either class of complaint may be lodged as a Formal Complaint. The Formal complaint must be in writing, signed by the complainant and be notarized. The informal complaint may be written or oral. All complaints will be dealt with in the same manner.
Any complaint can be made anonymously without giving your name. However, you cannot be informed of the internal review's results if you choose to remain anonymous. After a thorough investigation, the complaint will be classified into 1 of the following dispositions:
- Sustained: Evidence is sufficient to prove allegation
- Non-Sustained: Insufficient evidence exists to prove the allegation
- Exonerated: Incident occurred, but actions were lawful and proper
- Unfounded: Incident did not occur, or affected employee was not involved
Although employees named in a complaint will at some point be required to respond to the specific allegation, complainants need not be concerned that they will be subject to retribution for legitimacy stating a complaint because procedures are in place to prevent this.
Complainants who have criminal or traffic charges pending should be aware that the internal review process deals strictly with departmental policy matters and the conduct of agency employees. Regardless of the outcome of an internal investigation, existing criminal or traffic charges must be dealt with through the proper courts.
The final determination about the disposition of any complaint will be made by the Chief of Police.