The Dallas Police Department (DPD) is dedicated to providing the best police service possible to all citizens. Police officers are carefully selected and given the best training possible in order to provide this service. Educate your neighbors about the procedures to be followed in filing a commendation or complaint. Your feedback about the service you receive from the police department is very important.
How do you send commendations to an officer?
Your DPD officers are individuals who are dedicated to serving you and your community. Favorable comments from citizens are always welcome. Too often citizens only provide feedback when there has been a problem. Although this is important, it is also important to know that the majority of officers perform their jobs in a professional manner and truly care about the citizens they serve.
If you have occasion to see a police officer doing outstanding work or just want to acknowledge professional, courteous treatment from an officer, be sure to get his name and/or badge number. Please call the substation, or the Chief of Police
What if you have a complaint?
If you have an occasion to lodge a complaint about the actions of a member of the DPD, the following information explains how complaints are made, how they are investigated, and the potential results.
If you think and officer has not behaved properly, you may lodge a complaint with any supervisory officer of the DPD. Supervisors are on duty 24-hours per day and may be contacted by calling the substation in your area. Telephone numbers of each substation are included in the front of this section. The supervisor may be able to resolve the problem to your satisfaction immediately. Often citizen complaints are a result of not having access to complete information about the situation or not fully understanding police procedures. If the supervisor cannot resolve the problem, however, your complaint will be referred to the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) for investigation. Formal complaints from citizens will be fairly and thoroughly investigated by IAD special investigators assigned to the case. IAD office hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each weekday.
Texas State Law
Texas state law requires that all complaints against police officers must be in writing and signed by the person aggrieved. Just as citizens who are arrested must be notified of the charges against them, the police officer, by law, must be given a copy of a personnel complaint before any disciplinary action may be taken.
Complaints must be made within 60 days of the incident complained about, except in special cases (such as criminal misconduct or when good cause can be shown by the person complaining). The person who claims to be aggrieved must make complaints. Other persons may give Internal Affairs Division investigators will conduct a thorough investigation of your complaint, and you will be advised of the result.
People sometimes make false complaints against police officers. Citizens should be aware that this is a violation of the Texas Penal Code. Section 37.02 provides punishment for an individual who, with the intent to deceive and with knowledge of the statement’s meaning:
Makes a false statement under oath or swears to the truth of a false statement previously made; and, the statement is required or unauthorized by law to be made under oath.
A fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail up to one year, or both can punish a person convicted under this Section of the Texas Penal Code.
What happens when a complaint is found to be true?
As with all citizens, police officers must be accorded to certain rights, and complaints must be supported by sufficient evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence to sustain the complaint, the officer is notified and continues on duty. If he was removed form duty during the investigation, he will be paid for that period. The complainant is also notified by mail of the investigation’s results. Valid complaints may result in reprimand, suspensions, demotion, dismissal, or even criminal charges, depending upon the severity of the complaint.
Officers can appeal the decision
Just as a citizen charged with a criminal offense can appeal a court’s decision, a police officer can appeal the action taken against him. The City of Dallas has established procedures for officers to follow in their appeals, just as the DPD has established procedures for ensuring the complaints by citizens are thoroughly and honestly investigated.
What if you are not satisfied with the decision?
If you are not satisfied with the results of the investigation of IAD, you may:
- Contact IAD at the Police and Courts Building to discuss the case with a supervisor. The telephone number is included on the DPD Directory in Section II.
- Appeal to the Citizens/Police Review Board by completing a request form provided by IAD. This Board holds public meetings each month.
You may request investigations by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office if criminal acts are alleged or the Federal Bureau of Investigation if civil rights violations are alleged.