How are complaints investigated?

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 are complaints that APD receives from the Office of Police Oversight (OPO).

OPO conducts oversight of investigations into both internal and external complaints. Specifically, the OPO:

  • Reviews information gathered by APD
  • Attends interviews conducted by APD
  • Provides progress updates to the individual who submitted the complaint
  • Recommends potential policy violation(s) and classification
  • Communicate the outcome of an investigation once APD has made a final determination

APD is responsible for determining the classification of each investigation:

Class A complaints are the most serious allegations that APD investigates. These may result in discipline up to and including indefinite suspension.

Class B complaints are less serious allegations that APD investigates. These may result in discipline up to and including a 15-day suspension.

Class C complaints are allegations that do not qualify as Class A or Class B. APD generally does not investigate these complaints. Whether or not a Class C complaint is investigated, it is addressed through internal APD processes.

Class D complaints are allegations in which APD has determined there is no policy violation.

APD is responsible for determining the result of an investigation and making a disciplinary decision, OPO does not make any disciplinary decisions. The outcome of an investigation that APD has conducted are listed below:

  • Sustained: The investigation reveals that the incident occurred and violated policy
  • Exonerated: The investigation reveals that the incident occurred but did not violate policy
  • Unfounded: The investigation reveals that the incident did not happen
  • Inconclusive: There is not enough evidence to show whether the incident occurred
  • Administratively Closed: There were no allegations, or there was no misconduct, the case was classified as a Class C or Class D complaint, or at the discretion of the Chief or their 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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