Complaint Process

Professional Standards Unit

Under the direction of the Chief of Police, the Professional Standards Unit is supervised by Sergeant Kasey Cowell. This unit provides protection to the public with regard to improper police actions, and protection to the police department and its employees against unwarranted accusations of misconduct. Professional Standards exists to safeguard the high degree of integrity required to provide quality police services to the community and to maintain public trust.

Professional Standards also performs other duties for the Chief of Police, such as ensuring compliance with the Texas Police Chiefs Association Foundation Best Practices Recognition Program, maintaining requirements mandated by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), conducting background investigations of potential employees, and coordinating in-service training.

The Cleburne Police Department is committed to delivering the highest level of public safety services possible to our citizens and visitors to our community. Employees, both sworn officers and civilian personnel, are carefully selected and given the best training possible in order to provide this service. However, you may have occasion to lodge a complaint about the actions of a member of the Cleburne Police Department. In order to be responsive to you we are providing information about how complaints should be made, how they are investigated, and their results.

If you see a police department employee perform outstanding work, please let us know about it. You can commend an employee by writing a letter to the Chief of Police at:

Cleburne Police Department
302 W. Henderson St.
P.O. Box 677
Cleburne, Texas 76033

How are complaints made?

When a citizen lodges a complaint against a member of the Cleburne Police Department, the complaint is directed to Professional Standards. Their duty is to review and investigate your complaint. After normal business hours you may lodge a complaint with any police supervisor.

Texas State Law (Section 614.022 of the Government Code) requires that complaints against certain law enforcement officers and public safety employees 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, police officers are entitled to a copy of the complaint before any disciplinary action may be taken. Complaints must be made by the person who claims to be aggrieved. Other persons may give statements as witnesses.

A complaint should be made in a timely manner after the incident so that the details are readily available to the investigating supervisor and prompt attention can be focused to correct and/or discipline an officer acting in an unacceptable manner.

According to Texas State Law (Section 143.052 of the Local Government Code), the Police Department’s receipt of the complaint, investigation, and beginning of discipline of the officer must be completed within 180 days after the occurrence of the act. For criminal matters, the time frame is 180 days from the discovery of the act.

The Professional Standards Unit will conduct a thorough investigation of your complaint and you will be notified of the results, and of any action taken. Citations issued or difference of opinion between police officers or civilian employees and a citizen over the issuance of citations or the guilt or innocence of a person arrested will not be investigated. Issues of guilt or innocence fall only within the jurisdiction of the courts. Only specific allegations of misconduct against an employee will be investigated.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the police department's non-emergency number at (817) 645-0972 at any time and ask to speak to an on-duty police supervisor.

False Complaints

On occasion, individuals make false complaints against police officers and civilian employees. Citizens are cautioned that this act is a violation of the Texas Law. Section 37.02 of the Texas Penal Code provides punishment for an individual adjudged guilty of committing an offense if, with intent to deceive and with knowledge of the statement’s 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 punished by:
  1. a fine not to exceed $4,000.00;
  2. confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or
  3. both such fine and confinement.
This information is not intended to intimidate the citizens or prevent valid complaints. It is intended to prevent false complaints against officers.

How long will the investigation take?

Most investigations are completed within thirty (30) days; however, legal review and supervisor’s review of the case is not included in this time period.

What happens when a complaint is found to be true?

If the investigation of a complaint reveals it is true and should be sustained against an employee, the department will notify the employee of the finding. Depending on the nature of the violation, one or more of the following actions may be taken:

  • Counsel with the employee
  • Retrain the employee
  • Reprimand the employee
  • Suspend the employee
  • Demote the employee
  • Discharge the employee
Employees will be provided a written notice of any disciplinary action initiated. While progressive steps of discipline are encouraged, any of the discipline options may be exercised as the facts may warrant.

What happens if the complaint is found not to be true?

By law, employees must be afforded certain rights, the same as with all citizens. Complaints can be sustained only when supported by substantial evidence. If there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint, no action will be taken against the employee.

Employee can appeal the decision

Just as a citizen charged with a criminal offense can appeal a court decision, an employee may appeal an adverse administrative action. The City of Cleburne has established procedures for employees to follow in their appeals, just as the police department has established procedures for ensuring the complaints by citizens against employees are thoroughly and honestly investigated.

What if you are not satisfied with the decision?

If you are not satisfied with the result of the investigation by Professional Standards, you may appeal to the office of the Chief of Police.

The Cleburne Police Department is vitally interested in taking action when it is determined our employees are derelict in their duties, guilty of wrongdoing, or in need of further training. Your complaint will be given a fair and thorough investigation.

Racial Profiling Complaints

CCP Art. 2.132 Law Enforcement Policy on Racial Profiling requires the department to provide public education on the racial profiling complaint process. To meet this requirement, the Cleburne Police Department publishes the complaint process on this website.

Members of the Cleburne Police Department will not engage in any activities that are discriminatory or indicative of the practices of racial profiling or bias-based profiling. Officers will focus on the conduct of the individual and/or specific suspect information in taking police action. Individuals will not be targeted for enforcement action, detention, field contacts, asset seizure, and forfeiture efforts, or interdictions solely on the basis of race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, or age.

Download Complaint Packet

General Order 2.2 Biased Based Policing

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