November 29, 2021

Formal complaint: Purpose and scope and other policy violations

The complainant alleges that two Austin police officers entered an elementary school while responding to a call. The officers allegedly did not properly inform the school administrators and targeted a student with special needs. OPO recommends this complaint receive a B classification.

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NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT 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. ICMS #: 2021-1173 November 29, 2021 Complaint: The complainant alleges: Two APD officers showed up the school where I teach (a K-4 elementary school) un-announced and entered campus without alerting the front office or anyone in leadership (principal, assistant principals). They entered the school building and began walking around the hallways and classrooms looking for a student. Several school officials asked them why they were there and what they were doing. The officers explained that a "concerned citizen" had called and alerted them that a child was walking around outside of the school. Even after the school assistant principal and social worker informed the officers that there is a campus crisis plan currently in place for this student, and that this student has been monitored the whole time and that the student''s parent was on the way, the officers would not stop searching and would not leave the building. This student is in special education and receives specialized support by me, her teacher, a professional trained in mental and behavioral health. I was monitoring the student from afar waiting for her mom to arrive when the officers cornered my student causing her to run away in fear - which made the situation worse. I am extremely upset and angry. Police should not show up at a school with majority black and brown students and begin chasing a child. This is traumatizing to the specific student, her family and the rest of the students. I understand that sometimes police need to come to a school in case of an emergency, and am grateful that we can rely on police for protection in case of an emergency like an active shooter or lockdown, but this was not an emergency, it was a small child running around outside. The officers should have looked for the front office or called the school to check what was going on before they arrive on campus unannounced and begin chasing and scaring students. This notice of formal complaint is a request for Internal Affairs to initiate an investigation 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 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 NOTICE OF FORMAL COMPLAINT 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. public through direction, counseling, assistance, and protection of life and property. Employees will be held accountable for the manner in which they exercise the authority of their office or position. 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 shall provide equal and fair protection of all rights under local, state, and federal law for all members of the community. Law enforcement will be conducted in an impartial and equitable manner. In an effort to create an organizational culture that is inclusive and nondiscriminatory, employees shall act professionally, treat all persons fairly and equally, and strive to interact with the community in a positive manner. Employees will perform all duties objectively and without regard to personal feelings, animosities, friendships, financial status, occupation or employment status, sex, disability status, housing status, mental health or ability, citizenship, language, national origin, creed, color, race, religion, age, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity, or social or ethnic background. Employees will endeavor to understand and respect cultural, national, racial, religious, physical, mental, and other differences. 402.1.1 GENERAL GUIDELINES Officers will not write an offense report when they are the victim of a crime. The victim officer will write a supplement. The offense report will be written by an officer who is not a victim. An incident number will be assigned and all required fields completed during documentation anytime an employee observes or receives any information concerning the following, but not limited to: (b) Citizen complaints of non-criminal incidents requiring action by the police. Recommended Classification: The OPO is permitted to make a preliminary recommendation on the classification of administrative cases. The OPO recommends this complaint receive a B classification.
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