Standardize the Complaint Process for Law Enforcement Interactions

Policy Background:

Every Texas jurisdiction has its own process for driver complaints after perceived roadside mistreatment. As such, it is impossible to produce a statewide curriculum for young drivers that outlines their right to complain about mistreatment.

Texas policy-makers should require the creation of statewide standards that facilitate complaints and that clearly demonstrate how seriously law enforcement must take reports from the public. Texas’ young drivers may comply more with officers if they understand and believe in the complaint process available to them later.

Key Facts:

  • Most complaint processes require a person to go to the police department and file a written statement in person, which many people find intimidating. While officers get notice and legal representation, members of the public can be left in the dark as to the progress of any investigation. Complainants may or may not get to see any audio or video from their interaction, and they may or may not be given an opportunity to provide additional evidence. They may never know the outcome. And they get no appeal.
  • It is important for complaint processes to include the following:
  • The ability to complain by phone, email, or webform, or in person.
  • A standard 180-day timeframe for the investigation, with routine reporting back to the complainant and the officer on the progress of the investigation.
  • Complainant access to any audio- or video-recorded evidence of the interaction.
  • Notice to the both parties of the outcome of the investigation, as well as an appeal process.

Join us in making Texas a smart-on-crime state! Call your legislator and support TCJC today!

Relevant Bills:

  • Bill Number: HB 602 [Workman]
    Bill Caption: Relating to the requirements for a driver education course.
  • Bill Number: SB 202 [West]
    Bill Caption: Relating to inclusion of instruction regarding interaction with peace officers in the required curriculum for ninth grade public school students and to civilian interaction training for peace officers.
  • Bill Number: SB 233 [Menéndez]
    Bill Caption: Relating to training regarding interactions with law enforcement during traffic stops.
  • Bill Number: SB 273 [Whitmire]
    Bill Caption: Relating to inclusion of instruction regarding police officers in the required curriculum for ninth grade public school students.

Other Materials: