How are complaints investigated in 2021?

The Austin Police Department (APD) investigates complaints. There are two different types of complaints: internal and external. Internal complaints are complaints that APD initiates; external complaints originate from the Office of Police Oversight (OPO).

OPO conducted oversight of both internal and external complaint investigations. Specifically, the OPO:

  • Reviewed information gathered by APD
  • Attended interviews conducted by APD
  • Recommended potential policy violation(s) and case classification
  • Provided progress updates to the individual who submitted the complaint
  • Communicated the outcome of an investigation once APD made a final determination

APD is responsible for determining the case classification of each investigation according to APD policy. APD classifies all complaints, according to their General Orders, as one of the following:

Class A cases where the potential discipline is more than a 15-day suspension, indefinite suspension and/or demotion.

Class B cases where the potential discipline is a 15-day suspension or less. Generally, Class B Complaints are allegations of a less serious nature.

Class C complaints are allegations that do not qualify as Class A or Class B. APD generally does not investigate these complaints.

Class D allegations that do not rise to the level of a general order violation.

Once an investigation is complete, APD has sole discretion for determining the outcome and making a disciplinary decision. OPO does not make any determinations or disciplinary decisions. The possible outcomes of an investigation, according to APD General Orders, are listed below:

  • Sustained: When the investigation discloses sufficient evidence to establish that the act occurred and that it constituted misconduct.
  • Exonerated: When the investigation discloses that the alleged act occurred but that the act was justified, lawful, and/or proper according to Departmental General Orders.
  • Unfounded: When the investigation discloses that the alleged act(s) did not occur.
  • Inconclusive: When the investigation discloses that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the employee.
  • Administratively Closed: Complaints will be administratively closed under the following circumstances: (a) An administrative inquiry has been completed, and no allegations were made, or misconduct discovered. (b) The case was classified as a Class C or Class D complaint. (c) At the discretion of the Chief of Police or designee.

Contact information

contact_phone
Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676

Contact information

contact_phone
Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676
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