Texas State Law Requirements
Texas State Law requires that all complaints against peace 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 peace officer must be given a copy of the complaint before any disciplinary action may be taken. Complaints must be made by the person aggrieved. Other persons may give statements as witnesses.
The Sheriff will assign a Supervisor/Investigator and they will conduct a thorough investigation of your complaint. You will be advised of the results if you so wish and so indicate on the complaint form.
Traffic citations issued or differences of opinions between sheriff’s deputies over the issuance of traffic citations as to the guilt or innocence of persons arrested will not be investigated unless there is a specific allegation of misconduct against officers.
Sometimes people make false complaints against peace 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 intent to deceive and had knowledge of the statements 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 $4,000. This information is not intended to intimidate citizens or prevent them from making valid complaints. It is the intent of the department to persuade individuals from seeking retribution by filing false complaints against peace 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 sheriff’s employee, the Sheriff notifies the employee and he may take one of the following actions, depending on the nature of the violation:
- Verbal Reprimand
- Written Reprimand
- Time Off Without Compensation
What Happens If The Complaint Is Not True?
Sheriff’s 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 complaints, the officer is notified and continues with his or her duties.
Can An Officer Appeal The Complaint?
Yes. Just as citizens charged with a criminal offense have the right to appeal the court’s decision, peace officers also have the right to appeal administrative actions taken against them. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has established procedures for ensuring that complaints by citizens, against deputies are thoroughly and honestly investigated.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is vitally concerned with the welfare of all citizens and in taking action 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 a fair and thorough investigation.
If you have occasion to see an employee doing outstanding work, tell him/her or even better drop us a note. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving and protecting the health, welfare, and safety of you and our entire community.
Download and print a complaint form. If the information on the form is completed prior to arriving at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, YOU MUST SIGN IT IN FRONT OF A NOTARY. However if you complete the form and bring it to the sheriff’s office unsigned it can be notarized here.