COMPLAINT PROCESS

Mission:
To assist the Sheriff’s Office in maintaining the trust of the public by conducting administrative investigations regarding: allegations of employee misconduct, critical incidents, such as; officer-involved shootings, pursuits resulting in serious injury, or any incident resulting in serious injury or death of a person, regardless of any allegations of misconduct.  The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) also conducts proactive measures to ensure employee(s) are conforming to set standards by conducting periodic inspections and reviews.

Goals:

  • Protection of the Public
  • Protection of the Employee
  • Protection of the Sheriff’s Office

Complaint Guidelines:

The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) does not investigate citizen complaints concerning traffic violations or criminal charges when a person’s guilt or innocence is the issue in question.

OPS will conduct a preliminary review of anonymous and third party complaints, but will only pursue an investigation if there is evidence to validate the allegation.

OPS does not normally conduct administrative or criminal investigative regarding employee(s) of other law enforcement agency.

It is recommended that you attempt to resolve your complaint by contacting the accused employee’s immediate supervisor, as soon as possible following the event.

How to file a Complaint:

If the issue is not resolved by the supervisor and you opt to pursue a formal complaint, you may request a complaint packet from the supervisor.  If feasible, the supervisor can provide you with a complaint packet or may direct you to contact OPS at either of the following phone number's 409-770-5244 or 409-766-2357 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, excluding County holidays.  If you call after hours, please leave a message to include the nature of your complaint, your name and return phone number, and the name of the accused employee(s).  Your call will be returned as soon as possible.   You also have the option of coming to the sheriff’s office during regular business hours (as stated above) to file your complaint.  Either way, you will be provided with a complaint packet and once your completed packet is returned to OPS, an investigation will be initiated.  Please note that your complaint packet is a sworn statement and treated as such. 

As stated in the Government Local, Section 614.022, a peace officer (sheriff’s office employee) who is accused of misconduct and is subjected to administrative discipline from such, the accused employee must receive a signed written complaint.

All complaints are taken seriously and if appropriate; access to the complainant’s medical records may be request, physical evidence may be gathered, and photographs taken.  Furthermore, the complainant may be requested to submit to a polygraph examination. The submission to a polygraph examination is strictly voluntary. However, state law mandates that only if the complainant takes and passes a polygraph examination can an accused peace officer (deputy) then be ordered to take a polygraph examination.

Such investigations are normally completed within forty five days and you will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation, but not the associated discipline against said employee.

Once the investigation is complete, the case is forwarded to the Chief Deputy for review and if the allegation is found to be true, the case is provided to the accused employee's Bureau Commander for review. The Bureau Commander will afford the accused employee due process and make a recommendation for discipline, if appropriate.  The case will subsequently be presented to an Administrative Action Review Disciplinary Committee for a disciplinary recommendation.  The next step in the process is for the sheriff to review the case and to either agree or disagree with the Administrative Action Review Committee’s recommendation.  The sheriff normally agrees with the committee’s recommendations.  Per policy, the accused employee has the right to submit a written appeal to the sheriff and if the sheriff rejects said appeal, the employee has the right to appeal the disciplinary recommendation to the County Grievance Panel.  

Staff of OPS:

Lt. Josette Birdow
Deputy Joe Pena
Deputy Rose Tijerina

 

Quick Links

 

 

Office of Professional Standards is located in the Galveston Office at:

601 54th. Street
Suite 2100
Galveston, Texas 77551
Voice: 409-770-5244