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How To File a Complaint
Your Smithville Police Department is dedicated to providing the best public service to all of Smithville’s citizens. Your police employees are carefully selected and given the best training possible in order to provide this service. However, you may have an occasion to lodge a complaint about the actions of a member of the Smithville Police Department. In order to be responsive to you, we are providing the following information about how complaints are made, how they are investigated, and the final outcome of your complaint.
How Are Complaints Made?
When a citizen lodges a complaint against a member of the Smithville Police Department, the complaint goes to the Internal Affairs Division (supervisors) located at the Smithville Police Department. Their duty is to review and thoroughly investigate your complaint. The Internal Affairs Office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each weekday. If the Internal Affairs office is not open you may lodge your complaint with any supervisory officer of the Smithville Police Department. Your complaint will be forwarded to the Internal Affairs Division.
TEXAS STATE LAW requires that all complaints against police officers must be in writing and signed by the person making the complaint. Just as citizens who are arrested must be notified of the charges against them, the police officer must be given a copy of the complaints before any disciplinary action may be taken. The person aggravated must make the complaint; other persons may give statements as witnesses. The Internal Affairs Division will conduct a thorough investigation of your complaint and you will be advised of the results. Complaints regarding racial profiling, conduct of an officer, or of an investigative process, traffic citations issued, or the guilt or innocence of a person arrested will not be investigated unless there are specific allegations of misconduct against the officers or of the Smithville Police Department.
Sometimes people make false complaints against police officers. Citizens should be aware that this is a violation of the Texas Penal Code. Section 37.02 (Perjury) provides punishment for those individuals adjudged guilty of committing an offense, if with the intent to deceive and had knowledge of the statement meaning; he makes a false statement under oath or swears to the truth of a false statement previously made and the statement is required or authorized by law to be made under oath.
A person convicted under this section can be confined in jail for a term of not more than (1) year and a fine not to exceed $4000.00. This information is not intended to intimidate citizens or prevent them from making valid complaints. It is the intent of the department to persuade the individuals from seeking retribution by filing false complaints against police officers.
What Happens When A Complaint Is Found To Be True?
When the investigation of a complaint reveals that the charges are true and should be sustained against a police officer, the Chief of Police notifies the employee and may take on of the following actions, depending on the nature of the violation:
- Verbal Reprimand
- Written Reprimand
- Time off without pay
What Happens If the Complaint Is Not True?
Police employees must be afforded the same rights as with all citizens, and complaints must be supported by sufficient evidence. If there is not sufficient evidence to sustain complaints, the officer is notified and continues on duty. If he/she was removed from duty during the investigation, he/she will be paid for that time.
Can the Officer Appeal the Decision?
Yes. Just as citizens charged with a criminal offense have the right to appeal the court’s decision, the police officers also have the right to appeal administrative actions taken against them. The City of Smithville has established procedures for insuring that complaints by citizens against police officers 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 by the Internal Affairs Division, you may appeal to the following:
- The Office of the Chief of Police- 105 NW 4th Street, Smithville, TX 78957
- The Office of the City Manager - 317 Main Street, Smithville, TX 78957
- The Office of the District Attorney- 804 Pecan Street, Bastrop, TX 78602
- Federal Bureau of Investigation- 300 E. Eighth Street, Suite 215, Austin, TX 78767
The Smithville Police Department is vitally concerned with the welfare of all Smithville citizens and in taking actions where employees have proven derelict in their duties or are guilty of misconduct. If it becomes necessary for you to make a complaint, you can be assured that it will be given fair and thorough investigation. By the same token, if you have an occasion to see an employee doing outstanding work, tell him/her or drop us a note. The Smithville Police Department is made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving and protecting the health, welfare and safety of you and your entire community.
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