What happens when you file a complaint about the conduct of a CSPD officer or employee?

Wonder what happens when you file an internal complaint with the College Station Police Department? Chapter 26 of the CSPD Policy Manual has the details.


The overall integrity of the College Station Police Department depends upon the integrity of each individual employee. The public image and reputation of the department will be determined by its responsiveness and diligence in responding to allegations and reports of misconduct against the department or its employees. The College Station Police Department is committed to high standards and all employees share the responsibility of maintaining our reputation.

Equally, the department desires to protect its employees from the consequences of false accusations. A strong citizen complaint review and investigative process will prove the veracity or falseness of a complaint. It is therefore to the benefit of the community, the department, and the profession of law enforcement that all allegations of employee or department misconduct be promptly investigated. POLICY: 1.4.1; 6.7.5(b) 52.1.1

It is the policy of this department that all complaints against employees or the department, received from any source whether inside or outside the department, including anonymous complaints, will be documented and investigated. It is the intent of this policy to:

1. Protect the employee, the community, and the department
2. To identify and correct inappropriate behavior
3. To identify and remedy procedural problems and
4. To enhance the profession of law enforcement.


 Internal Affairs Supervisor: The employee designated by the Chief of Police to manage the internal affairs function and conduct investigations. This position reports directly to
the Chief of Police.
 Internal Affairs Investigator: Persons designated by the Chief of Police to conduct a given internal investigation.
 Complaint: An allegation of misconduct, inappropriate performance, or violations of any law, policy, procedure or directive that is made against any department employee or the
department that cannot be resolved as an inquiry.
 Internal complaints: complaints originating within the department, which are specific allegations of violations of department or city policy.
 External Complaints: complaints originating from outside the department.
 Inquiry: The informal handling of citizen’s questions regarding law, police tactics,
policies and procedures.

1. Objectives of Internal Affairs Investigations

a. To detect, thoroughly investigate, and properly adjudicate any complaint against department employees or the department.
b. To honestly and fairly investigate and adjudicate all complaints against employees or the department.
c. To protect the public, the department, and the department employees form personnel who engage in serious acts of misconduct, or who have demonstrated they are unfit for law enforcement work.
d. To improve the proficiency and the efficiency of the department and its employees by evaluating current practices & policies to disclose faulty procedures that would otherwise have gone undetected.

2. Responsibilities

a. Internal Affairs Supervisor (Administrative Lieutenant) 52.1.3
(1) Management and responsibility of the overall internal affairs function.
(8) Receive complaints on employees, determine appropriate investigative process (IA or supervisor), and investigate allegations of employee misconduct in compliance with standard procedures, including, as necessary: interviewing complainants, witnesses and employees; taking written statements and/or recording interviews; preparing investigative reports and obtaining records; arranging and coordinating investigative tests, including line-ups, blood, breath, polygraph, and psychological exams.
(10) Review investigations conducted by other section personnel or other supervisors for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with department standards.
b. Asst. Chief of Police
(1) The Asst. Chief of Police in the employee’s chain of command has the responsibility for final disposition of complaints and discipline. Investigations likely to result in suspension, demotion or termination shall be the subject of a round table discussion by command staff. Such discussion will be scheduled by the Asst. Chief of Police.
c. Chief of Police
(1) The Chief shall retain the discretion to alter the normal procedures when in his judgment the circumstances of a situation warrant or compel a differing approach.

3. Intake

a. It is the obligation of every employee of this department to treat citizen concerns seriously and to give a courteous and professional response regardless of the apparent validity or nature their concern.
b. Any person or persons may file a complaint against an employee or department.
c. Complaints about the agency or its employees will be documented and submitted to the Internal Affairs supervisor on the approved departmental Complaint Initial Contact Form.
d. People that walk in or call shall be referred to the immediate supervisor of the employee against whom the concern is directed.
(1) In the event the immediate supervisor is not available the person shall be referred to the next supervisor in the chain of command.
(2) In the event a supervisor within the employee’s chain of command is not available the person shall be referred to any employee of supervisory status, preferably within the
same operational component of the employee.
e. Concerns mailed in shall be forwarded to the Internal Affairs supervisor.
f. If the person is intoxicated or otherwise impaired, initial information will be taken and the Internal Affairs supervisor or the designated investigator will contact them at a later date.
g. If the concern would be classified as a Class 1 complaint and requires immediate attention, the Internal Affairs supervisor shall be called out to continue the investigation. 1.4.1(b)
h. The supervisor initially involved should attempt to resolve “Inquiries”. If the person is satisfied their questions have been addressed, no documentation is required. If the person is not satisfied and wishes to file a written complaint the supervisor shall file a written complaint. 1.4.1(a)
i. All complaints will be forwarded to the Internal Affairs supervisor where they will be given a control number and official assignment will be made.
j. Those incidents, which involve a difference of opinion between a police officer and a citizen, solely over the guilt or innocence of an offense, shall not be investigated officially. Complainants in such cases shall be advised to pursue adjudication through the court system. No documentation will be required in these specific instances.

4. Preliminary Investigation

a. Upon becoming aware of or receiving notification of potential misconduct by an employee, an appropriate supervisor shall begin an immediate investigation of such allegations. 1.4.1(a)
b. The supervisor’s preliminary investigation shall focus upon obtaining the details surrounding the complaint to include statements from those involved parties (complainant & employees) as well as securing all relevant evidence. 1.4.1(a)
c. Upon completion of the initial investigation, the supervisor shall complete an approved departmental Complaint Initial Contact Form, summarize any resolution or action on the form, attach any obtained statements, submit any relative evidence, and forward to the incident packet directly to the Internal Affairs supervisor. In any case, at the end of that shift, all reports shall be forwarded to the Internal Affairs supervisor. 5. Complaint Processing and Investigation 2.2.4

5. Complaint Processing and Investigation

a. All complaints and attachments shall be forwarded to the Internal Affairs supervisor for classification, indexing and investigative assignment if necessary.
b. In order to assure a fair and impartial review and/or investigation of the allegation, the person receiving the initial complaint and the supervisor taking the complaint shall not discuss the incident or the complaint with anyone outside the direct chain of command other than the Internal Affairs section or the Chief of Police. This precaution will help to prevent any undue stress on the employee against whom the allegation(s) were made as well as to quell unnecessary rumors.
c. Assignment of Complaints
(1) IA investigations shall only be conducted by employees designated by the Chief or the IA supervisor. While performing an IA function, assigned employee(s) will answer to the IA supervisor.
(2) Cases alleging racial profiling will be investigated by the Internal Affairs Unit. 1.4.1(b) 2.06
(3) Cases involving criminal acts by employees will be assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit and the Criminal Investigations Division and/or an outside agency for separate investigations. 1.4.1(b) 2.06
d. Once an investigation is complete, it shall be forwarded to the Internal Affairs Supervisor for review and initiation of the discipline recommendation process if required.
e. Recommendations are required from each level within that employee’s chain of command unless the employee’s supervisor is also being investigated as part of the same complaint.
(1) Prior to submitting the recommendation, each level of supervisor may meet with the employee to discuss the allegation.
(2) Recommendations from all supervisors in the chain of command, a round table discussion by command staff when necessary, and a final disposition shall be completed within 14 calendar days from the date the investigation is completed.
The Chief may waive the 14-day completion requirement with cause. A supervisor requesting an extension shall send their request to the Chief of Police and the Internal Affairs supervisor, via electronic mail. The request shall include a brief explanation of the reason for the extension and an anticipated date of
completion. The request and approval response shall be printed and included in the case file by the I.A. supervisor. 52.2.3
f. All investigations shall be completed within 30 days of assignment and discipline, if any, taken within 30 days of completion. The Chief may waive the 30-day completion
requirement with cause. An investigator requesting an extension shall send their request to the Chief of Police and the Internal Affairs supervisor, via electronic mail. The request shall indicate the status of the investigation, the tasks remaining, and an anticipated date of completion. The request and approval response shall be printed and included in the case file by the investigator. 1.4.4 52.2.3 2.05
g. Once the Asst. Chief in the employee’s chain of command receives the investigation case file he shall make a final determination and shall specify the disciplinary action to be taken, if any. If termination is the final determination the Chief of Police shall be notified and approve such action. The Asst. Chief shall notify the Internal Affairs section of the disciplinary action to be taken and the employee will be notified of such action via the completion of the departmental Disciplinary Charge and Specification Letter for any action above documented counseling. Documented counseling shall be completed by the employee’s supervisor and a copy of such sent to the Internal Affairs Supervisor.
h. Disciplinary action in cases referred to the Criminal Investigation Division may be delayed until disposition of the case occurs within the judicial system.

6. Complaint Classification

All complaints shall be classified by the Chief or his designee.
a. Class 1 Complaints – Include all serious complaints alleged against department employees or the department. These complaints shall be investigated by the internal affairs supervisor or a designee of the Chief. They include but are not limited to:
(1) Unnecessary or excessive use of force.
(2) False arrest
(3) Discrimination
(4) Corruption/extortion
(5) Violation of specific criminal statutes
(6) Misuse of police authority
(7) Civil rights violations
(8) Others as may be directed by the Chief 1.4.1(b) 52.2.1(b) 2.06
b. Class 2 Complaints – All complaints relating to inadequate police service, discourtesy, improper procedure, or any other allegation not included under Class 1, or which are directed by the Chief. These complaints may be investigated by the supervisor taking the
complaint. 1.4.1(a) 52.2.1(a) 2.06

7. Notification of Employee and Supervisor of Complaint and Investigation

The Internal Affairs supervisor, upon reviewing the complaint, will determine whether or not the employee being complained against should be notified immediately. If not, the Chief may authorize an investigation without the employee’s knowledge if he feels it is necessary to gather sufficient information and evidence to conclude the investigation. Under normal circumstances employees should be notified of complaints against them as soon as practical.

a. When notification would not hinder a proper investigation, the Internal Affairs supervisor shall notify the employee under investigation and the employee’s chain of command of the
pending complaint.
b. At the time of interview the employee will be provided with a statement of the allegations against them and their rights and responsibilities as it pertains to the investigation. The
employee being complained against shall be required to sign an Internal Investigation Warning form. Employees interviewed as witnesses or for informational purposes shall not be required to sign an Internal Investigation Warning form. 1.4.6 52.2.5
c. Employees shall be notified by the Internal Affairs supervisor any time an investigation is extended in duration or has a change of classification or type.
d. When a final determination is made the involved employee and their chain of command shall be notified of the disposition of the complaint by the Internal Affairs supervisor.

8. Notification of the Complainant 1.4.5(a) (b) 52.2.4(a)(b)(c) 2.10

Complainants shall be notified in writing that their complaint has been received and is being investigated. This notification shall contain the complaint control number for reference purposes.
The I.A. supervisor may contact the complainant to give a periodic status update as needed. A copy of this notification shall become part of the investigation record. If an investigation will exceed the
30 day limit and an extension is approved by the Chief, the complainant will be updated on the status of the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation the complaint will be notified of the general findings and conclusion of the investigation, the corrective or disciplinary action taken if the allegation is sustained and that the investigation is officially closed.

9. Disposition of Complaints 1.4.9

a. Upon completion of an investigation the Chief or his designee shall classify the case with one of the following dispositions:
Sustained: The allegation is supported by a preponderance of the factual evidence to conclude the employee committed one or more of the alleged violations and the disposition is based on facts determined during the investigation.2.04
Not Sustained: There is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation(s).
Unfounded: Proof exists the accused employee was not involved in the incident or the incident did not actually occur.
Exonerated: The incident occurred, however, the employee’s actions were justified, lawful, or in accordance with Standard Operating Procedure.
Exonerated by Policy Failure: The incident occurred, but the employee was acting in a manner consistent with Department policy and that policy is determined to be ineffective.
b. The final classification shall be indicated on the Complaint Control Log.

10. Use of Polygraph 1.4.7(d) 52.2.6(e)

a. An employee may be ordered by the Chief to submit to a polygraph examination which is directed specifically and narrowly to any IA investigation. However, when an uncorroborated citizen’s complaint for a non-criminal infraction is the basis for an investigation, the employee shall not normally be required to submit to a polygraph examination unless the complaining citizen first submits to such an examination.
b. If the polygraph examination is being ordered because of an IA investigation involving internal operations of the department, the complaint must appear valid based on the information available when the polygraph is ordered.
c. The Chief of Police may order a polygraph at any time without having a citizen submit to a polygraph first if he considers the circumstances to be extraordinary and the integrity of an employee or the department is in question.
d. During the examination the employee shall be permitted to view the questions prior to the actual test. The polygraph examiner may add control questions of his choice.
e. The Chief shall be given the written results of the examination.
f. Results of the polygraph examination shall not be usable in any subsequent criminal proceeding but may be used to determine dispositions of administrative matters.

11. Other Testing Methods

a. Employees of the department may not refuse to submit to any other non-testimonial administrative examination, as ordered by the Chief, with reasonable cause and it is material to the investigation (i.e., medical examinations or tests, line up, photographs,
fingerprints, financial statements, etc). In criminal cases, the accused employee’s constitutional rights will be protected, including the right to counsel. 1.4.7(b)(c) 52.2.6(b)(c)(d)
b. Employees of the department may not refuse mandatory drug screening by urinalysis or blood test, as ordered by the Chief, with cause, during an official IA investigation, including but not limited to; a shooting incident, injury or fatality accident, allegation of
substance abuse, illegal possession or sale, or other incident involving serious injury or the threat of injury. 1.4.7(a) 52.2.6(a)
c. Refusal to provide records or to submit to non-testimonial examinations where required by direct order of the Chief may be grounds for dismissal. 52.2.7

12. Employee Statements

a. Employees are required to answer all questions concerning an IA investigation that are specifically related to that particular matter under investigation. Any employee who is the subject of an IA investigation shall be required to sign an Internal Investigation Warning form prior to being questioned.
b. Employees under IA investigation may not refuse to answer questions narrowly related to the performance of their duties or the specifics of an internal non-criminal investigation.
c. The acts of lying, omission, or refusal to fully cooperate in relation to an IA investigation may be grounds for dismissal. 52.2.7
d. When CID is investigating an employee for an alleged criminal act, the employee shall be protected by the requirements of Miranda and may not be required to answer any questions or make any statements to the criminal investigator. His attorney may be present during questioning if the employee so desires.

13. Searches

a. An employee’s personal property shall be afforded the same protection as that of any other citizen according to the law.
b. Departmental property or personal property authorized for use by the department in connection with official duties may be inspected at any time, even if assigned to be used exclusively by an individual employee.

14. Release of Information

All releases of information and reports concerning an IA investigation shall be authorized directly by the Chief. News media personnel shall be referred to the office of the Chief when inquires are made.


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