AISD Police Department Policies
In accordance with Senate Bill 1704, the Austin ISD Police Department has made significant efforts to inform the public about issues relevant to the complaint process. Special emphasis has been placed on informing school community members on filing a complaint regarding racial profiling practices.
Once an individual has filed a complaint regarding racial profiling or a complaint of misconduct, the following process is followed:
A police officer with the rank of sergeant or higher will interview the individual who filed the complaint. The officer will ask questions about what happened. The officer may be able to satisfactorily explain the actions of the involved officer(s).
Usually, the alleged victim will be interviewed at the police department's main building. In some instances, the interview is videotaped. The individual filing the complaint may bring a lawyer, family member or friend to the interview. The police officer will ask the individual filing a complaint for the names of witnesses and other police officers who may know facts about the complaint. A police photographer may take pictures of any injuries that the alleged victim believes to be related to the complaint.
After the interview, the AISD Police Department will investigate the alleged misconduct. Investigators will talk to witnesses and visit the site of the incident.
The investigators will be police officers assigned to the professional standards section. All involved officers will be interviewed; witnesses who the alleged victim has named will be contacted and, if they consent, interviewed. The alleged victim will receive a letter regarding the progress of the investigation. Although it is impossible to estimate how long the investigation will take, the alleged victim will receive periodic reports on its status. A report will then be prepared.
The police chief reviews every complaint after the investigation is completed and a report is written. If the complaint includes excessive force or charges an officer with a crime, it will also be reviewed by an internal investigation section investigator. The investigator will review the complaint, statements from all witnesses and reports from the investigation. The investigator may ask for additional information before making recommendations to the police chief. The results of investigations that suggest there are no charges that the police officer used excessive force or committed a crime are also reviewed by the police chief. The police chief reviews investigations and makes the final decision on all complaints.
The results of complaints are called findings. There are four possible findings:
- Sustained: The complaint has been supported. The officer(s) involved acted improperly and may be disciplined.
- Unfounded: The investigation found no basis to the complaint filed.
- Exonerated: The police officer(s) involved acted properly and will not be disciplined
- Not provable: There was not enough evidence to prove the complaint true or false so no further action will be taken.
The police chief decides on a finding after the complaint has been reviewed. Further, the chief will inform the alleged victim through an official letter of the final decision.
A Commitment to the Community
The AISD Police Department has made the commitment to the community:
- The department shall accept complaints from any person who believes he or she has been stopped or searched based on racial, ethnic or national origin profiling. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated or coerced from filing a complaint, nor discriminated against because he or she filed such a complaint.
- Any employee who receives an allegation of racial profiling, including the officer who initiated the stop, shall record the person's name, address and telephone number, and forward the complaint through the appropriate channel or direct the individual(s). Any employee contacted shall provide to that person a copy of a complaint form or the department process for filing a complaint. All employees will report any allegation of racial profiling to their superior before the end of their shift.
- Investigation of a complaint shall be conducted in a thorough and timely manner. All complaints will be acknowledged in writing to the initiator who will receive disposition regarding said complaint within a reasonable period of time. The investigation shall be reduced to writing and any reviewer's comments or conclusions shall be filed with the chief. When applicable, findings and/or suggestions for disciplinary action, retraining, or changes in policy shall be filed with the chief.
- If a racial profiling complaint is sustained against an officer, it will result in appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
If an individual would like to file an official complaint, download the complaint form and fill out required information asked on the form. Once information is documented please take the forms to AISD Police Department Headquarters and ask to speak to a police supervisor for the initiation of complaint.