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 conducts internal affairs investigations and also performs other duties for the Chief of Police, such as ensuring compliance with the Texas Police Chiefs Association Foundation Best Practices Accreditation 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 police officers and non-sworn 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.
Cleburne, Texas 76033

How are complaints made?

It is the policy of the Cleburne Police Department to courteously receive and investigate complaints concerning its employees.

A person desiring to make a complaint may contact Professional Standards or an on-duty police supervisor at (817) 645-0972.  

Persons desiring to make a complaint must understand the importance of submitting their complaint in writing with their signature affixed. The Texas Government Code, Section 614.022, provides that all complaints to be considered on law enforcement officers must be in writing and signed by the person making the complaint.  

Persons complaining orally, or by email, will be requested to submit their complaint in writing with their signature affixed if the complaint is on a law enforcement officer.  

A person refusing to make a written complaint or who makes an anonymous complaint does not necessarily prevent an investigation from being initiated on the facts provided, but does cause the matter to be more difficult to process to an effective conclusion.  

Upon receipt of a complaint, the investigator will contact the complainant to inform them that the complaint will be investigated and discuss in detail the allegation(s) made against the employee.

A complaint should be made in a timely manner after the incident so that the details are readily available to the investigator. The Texas Government Code, Section 614.022, provides that disciplinary action may not be taken against an officer unless the complaint is investigated and there is evidence to prove the allegation of misconduct. The Texas Local Government Code, Section 143.052, provides that 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.

Professional Standards will conduct a thorough investigation of your complaint and you will be notified of the results, and of any action taken. Professional Standards does not investigate complaints concerning traffic citations or criminal charges when an individual’s guilt or innocence is the only issue in question. These cases will go through the appropriate court for disposition.

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 employees. Citizens are cautioned that this act is a violation of Texas Law. The Texas Penal Code, Section 37.02 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:
  • a fine not to exceed $4,000.00;
  • confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or
  • both such fine and confinement.
This information is not intended to intimidate  citizens or discourage 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  evidence to prove the allegation of misconduct 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

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, 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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