Commendations and Complaints
Everyone likes a pat on the back when they do a good job. Galveston Police Department employees are no different. The Galveston Police Department is eager to learn of instances where you feel an officer or civilian employee performed in an exemplary manner.
Commendations, like complaints, help the agency gauge overall customer satisfaction with our performance. We encourage you to share your opinions regarding Galveston Police Department employees and the services provided to you.
You may submit a commendation by taking the time to complete the on-line commendation form below. You may also commend an employee by contacting any supervisory member of the police department either in person or by telephone at 409-765-3790.
Your comments will be forwarded through the employee’s chain of command and be reviewed by the Office of the Chief of Police. After the review, a copy of your comments will be placed in the employee’s personnel file and the original document provided to the employee.
The Galveston Police Department is committed to providing exemplary customer service in a professional manner that ensures all citizens and visitors a safe and secure environment. Police personnel are carefully selected and given the best training possible in order to provide this service. Police officers have a difficult job to do. They are asked to exercise their best judgment under stressful, tense situations and often with limited information and time constraints. However, officers must also be courteous, professional and observe the rights of all citizens while performing their duties. If a citizen believes an officer or an employee has engaged in misconduct, they have the right to file a complaint.
It is the policy of the Galveston Police Department to investigate all complaints against the department or its employees. This ensures the integrity of the department while protecting the rights and interests of both citizens and department employees.
When a citizen lodges a complaint against a member of the Galveston Police Department, the complaint goes to the Office of Professional Standards. The responsibilities of investigators assigned to the Office of Professional Standards includes the reviewing and investigating of your complaint. The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each weekday.
You may also lodge a complaint with any supervisory member of the police department in person or by telephone. To speak with an on duty supervisor after normal business hours, you may contact dispatch at 409-765-3702. Your complaint will then be forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards for investigation.
TEXAS STATE LAW (Government Code 614.022) requires that all complaints against police officers 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, police officers must be given copies of complaints before any disciplinary action may be taken. The person who claims to be aggrieved must make the complaint. Other persons may give statements as witnesses.
The Office of Professional Standards will conduct a thorough investigation of your complaint. The investigator will contact witnesses and officers and ask them to give statements. Records and other evidence will also be collected and examined. Unless special circumstances exist, you will be advised in writing of the outcome within 45 days from receipt of the complaint.
Traffic tickets issued or differences of opinion between police officers and citizens over the issuance of traffic tickets or for the guilt or innocence of persons arrested will not be investigated unless there is specific allegation of misconduct against a member(s) of the department.
People who intentionally make false complaints or allegations against police officers violate Chapter 37 of the Texas Penal Code. Texas law provides punishment for an individual adjudged guilty of committing an offense if, with intent to deceive and with knowledge of the statements meaning, he / she 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 who commits an offense under this section can be charged with offenses ranging from a Class B Misdemeanor to a Felony of the Third Degree. Punishments can range from confinement of 180 days in jail to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
This information is not intended to intimidate the complainant or any witness, but is provided to avoid retaliation against police officers or departmental staff.
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 employee, the Chief of Police notifies the employee and may take one of the following actions, depending on the nature of the violation:
- Counsel the employee;
- Provide in-service training to the employee;
- Reprimand the employee;
- Transfer the employee;
- Suspend the employee without pay;
- Demote the employee; or
- Terminate the employee.
The complainant will be notified in writing of the investigations results.
What Happens if the Complaint Is Found to Be Not True or Yields Insufficient Information to Prove or Disprove the Allegation of Misconduct?
Police employees must be afforded certain rights the same as with all citizens 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 from duty during the investigation, the employee will be paid for that period. The complainant will be notified in writing of the investigation’s results.
Can an Employee Appeal the Decision?
Just as citizens charged with criminal offenses can appeal a court’s decision, police employees are afforded the right to appeal the actions taken against them. The City of Galveston has established procedures for employees to follow in their appeals, just as the police department has established procedures for ensuring that complaints by citizens against police employees are thoroughly and impartially investigated.
The Galveston Police Department is vitally interested in the welfare of all citizens and visitors, in establishing the facts regarding any reported incident, and in taking action where its employees have proven derelict in their duties or are guilty of wrongdoing. If it becomes necessary for you to make a complaint, you can be assured that it will be given a fair and thorough investigation.
The Galveston Police Department is composed of professionals dedicated to serving you.
TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE
Complaints Against Law Enforcement Officers
Sec. 614.022. Complaint to be in Writing and Signed by Complainant. To be considered by the head of a state agency or by the head of a fire or police department, the complaint must be: (1) in writing; 2 signed by the person making the complaint. Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.
Sec. 614.023. Copy of Complaint to be Given to Officer or Employee. (a) A copy of a signed complaint against a law enforcement officer, fire fighter, or police officer shall be given to the officer or employee within a reasonable time after the complaint is filed. (b) Disciplinary action may not be taken against the officer or employee unless a copy of the signed complaint is given to the officer or employee. Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.