Citizen Complaint Procedure
To schedule an appointment for a formal complaint, please call 972.539.0525.
The Importance of your Complaint
The Flower Mound Police Department recognizes that its employees are responsible for their conduct where the public is concerned. The department also acknowledges that, at certain times, conflicts between citizens and agency employees can arise. It is essential to the safety of our community that the relationship between police and citizens be built on confidence and trust. Law enforcement cannot be effective without this vital conviction by both entities.
Police Officers must be free to exercise their best judgment and initiate proper action in a reasonable, lawful, impartial manner, without fear of reprisal. At the same time, they must observe the rights of all people. The complaint process and appropriate disciplinary procedures not only subject agency members to corrective action when they conduct themselves improperly, the guidelines also protect them from unwarranted criticism when they discharge their duties properly.
A disagreement over the validity of a traffic citation is not a complaint. Such disagreements should be directed to the court that has jurisdiction in the matter.
The Police Department realizes that confusion, different perceptions, or the timeliness of information sometimes will result in descriptions that produce different versions of the same incident. Beyond legitimate error, however, the deliberate making of a report that the complainant knows to be false or misleading could constitute a violation of State Law.
The complaint process is designed to deal with each case factually and fairly. Citizens who file complaints are treated respectfully, and their accusations are taken seriously. All complaints are investigated thoroughly, and all findings are based on impartial evidence gained during the investigation.
However many complaints can be explained satisfactorily by visit or telephone call to the employee's supervisor, usually the Sergeant for officers and Communications Manager for dispatchers. The supervisor will talk with you about your complaint and try to resolve it.
Formal external allegations that assert misconduct, not criminal in nature, must be received by the Department within forty-five (45) days of the act, or when the complainant can show good cause for not making the complaint within the specific time limit. The determination of good cause shall be the sole judgment of the Chief of Police. Allegations of misconduct that is criminal in nature will be received within their respective statute of limitations period, as specified in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
When possible, formal allegations of misconduct received from external sources will be reduced to writing, signed by the complainant and notarized. A notarized Department form describing Texas Penal Code Section 37.08 (False Report to a Peace Officer or Law Enforcement Employee) and the Texas Government Code Section 614.021.023 (Subchapter B. Complaint Against Law Enforcement Officer or Fire Fighter) will be attached to the written complaint.
Anonymous allegation(s) of misconduct, whether verbal or written against the agency or its employees will be investigated.
All complaints will be dealt with in the same manner. The investigator assigned a complaint will keep the complainant updated and notify the complainant upon completion of the investigation.
Any complaint can be made anonymously without giving your name. However, you cannot be informed of the internal review's results if you choose to remain anonymous. After a thorough investigation, the complaint will be classified into one of the following dispositions:
- Unfounded: The investigation reveals the allegation is false or is not factual, or otherwise tends to disprove the allegation of misconduct.
- Exonerated: The investigation tends to support the reported facts but the conduct does not appear improper or unlawful.
- Not Sustained: The investigation yields insufficient information either to prove or disprove the allegation of misconduct.
- Sustained: The investigation tends to support the allegation of misconduct.
- Violation Not Related: The investigation reveals a violation not related to the allegation raised in the complaint.
- Policy Failure: The investigation reveals a possible failure in Department policy. A complete review of the policy in question shall take place.
Sustained allegations could result in additional training, counseling, written reprimand, suspension, or termination.
Although employees named in a complaint will, at some point, be requested to respond to the specific allegation, they are not permitted access to cases under investigation. Complainants need not be concerned that they will be subject to retribution for legitimately stating a complaint because procedures are in place to prevent this.
Complainants who have current criminal or traffic charges pending should be aware that the internal review process deals solely with department police matter and the conduct of agency employees. Regardless of the outcome of an internal investigation, existing criminal or traffic charges must be dealt with through the proper courts.
FINAL DETERMINATION ABOUT THE DISPOSITION OF ANY COMPLAINT WILL BE MADE BY THE CHIEF OF POLICE.
Racial Profiling Complaint Process
Any person who believes that a peace officer employed by the Town of Flower Mound has engaged in racial profiling with respect to that person may file a complaint with the Police Department. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated or coerced from filing such a complaint, or be discriminated against because they have filed such a complaint.
The Town shall accept and investigate citizen complaints alleging racial profiling by its peace officers. Complaints alleging racial profiling must be received within 45 days of the act, or when the complainant can show good cause for not making the complaint within the specified time limit. Complaints should be in writing, or the employee, officer or official receiving the complaint should reduce the complaint to writing and should include the time , place, and details of the alleged racial profiling incident along with the identity or description of the police officer(s) involved, and the identity in a manner of contacting the complainant.
Any peace officer, Town employee, or Town official who receives a citizen complaint alleging racial profiling shall forward the complaint to the Chief of Police, or designee, within twelve (12) hours of receipt of the complaint. Receipt of each complaint shall be acknowledged to the complainant in writing. All complaints shall be reviewed and investigated by the Chief of Police's designee within a reasonable period of time and the results of the review and investigation shall be filed with the Chief of Police and with the complainant.
The investigation of a complaint alleging racial profiling shall seek to determine if the Flower Mound peace officer who is the subject of the complaint has been engaged in a pattern of racial profiling. This would include multiple acts constituting racial profiling for which there is no reasonable, credible explanation based on established police and law enforcement procedures. A single act constituting racial profiling may not be considered a pattern of racial profiling, but will be grounds for corrective action and can be investigated by line supervisors.
In the event a complaint of racial profiling filed by an individual involves an occurrence that was recorded on audio or video, the Flower Mound Police Department shall, upon commencement of the investigation of the complaint, and upon a written request of the officer, promptly provide a copy of the recording to the peace officer that is the subject of the complaint.
Complimenting an Employee
As we recognize that conflicts between citizens and agency employees can arise, we also realize that there are times when employees go above and beyond their call for duty. Law Enforcement employees, like everyone else, appreciate it when their good deeds are noticed. Too often they are remembered for the traffic tickets they issue or the arrests they have made, and not for the thousands of helping hands they extend.
If an Officer or Employee of the Flower Mound Police Department provides services that you feel they should be commended for, please write the Chief a letter or note to that effect, giving your feelings on what the Officer or Employee has done that deserves commendation. The Chief will see to it that it gets to the employee and that a copy is placed in the employee's personnel file. This boosts their morale and encourages them and all other Officers and Employees of the Department to be more positive about themselves and the service they provide. We are proud of the good relationship we share with the community.