January 8, 2021

Formal Complaint: Responsibility to the Community Purpose and Scope, Impartial Attitude and Courtesy and other policy violations

Complainant alleges that an Austin police officer responding to a mental health call placed on behalf of their client acted disrespectfully towards them and was unwilling to accept their clinical opinion. The Office of Police Oversight recommends that this allegation receive a B classification.

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The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT ICMS #: 2020-1834 January 8, 2021 Complaint: The Office of Police Oversight received an anonymous complaint alleging: I am a social worker at the ATCIC. I worked with Officer on a mental health call placed on behalf of a client in psychiatric crisis to pursue an emergency detention given she was decompensated to the point of not being able to actively consent to treatment. Officer was incredibly unknowledgeable about mental health, unwilling to accept my clinical opinion, and was disrespectful in his approach to myself and the client we were working with. He implied that staff had called for a mental health officer only because we were closing which is not only not true given we were still open for another three hours (also showing his lack of knowledge into mental health resources) but it belittled our clinical judgement. He was unwilling to engage in a respectful conversation to address the needs of the client in crisis and instead lashed out at myself and staff. We had requested a mental health officer to evaluate this client and he refused to contact the mental health officer despite our request. The client was clearly at risk of harm to herself or others but he declined to seek out appropriate care for her by contacting a mental health officer. He further implied that even if the client was immediate suicidal with plan and intent to act on those thoughts that he would not have pursued an ED which concerns me for his future interactions with those in crisis given this may lead to someone taking their own life. This notice of formal complaint is a request for Internal Affairs to initiate an investigation in order to determine if the employee conduct is within compliance of APD policy, Civil Service Rules, and Municipal Civil Service Rules. Recommended Administrative Policies to Review (to include but not limited to): 301.1 RESPONSIBILITY TO THE COMMUNITY PURPOSE AND SCOPE All persons deserve protection by fair and impartial law enforcement and should be able to expect similar police response to their behavior wherever it occurs. Employees will serve the public through direction, counseling, assistance, and protection of life and property. Employees will respect the rights of individuals and perform their services with honesty, sincerity, courage, and sound judgment. 301.2 IMPARTIAL ATTITUDE AND COURTESY Employees are expected to act professionally, treat all persons fairly and equally, and perform all duties impartially, objectively, and equitably without regard to personal feelings, animosities, friendships, financial status, sex, creed, color, race, religion, age, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or social or ethnic background. 900.3.2 ACTS BRINGING DISCREDIT UPON THE DEPARTMENT Since the conduct of personnel both on-duty or off-duty may reflect directly upon the Department, employees must conduct themselves at all times in a manner which does not bring reproach, discredit, or embarrassment to the Department or to the City. The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the American Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT Recommended Classification: The OPO is permitted to make a preliminary recommendation on the classification of administrative cases. The OPO recommends that this allegation receive a B classification.
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