Racial Profiling Prohibited
The Houston Police Department has established a policy, General Order 600-42, concerning the prohibition of racial profiling as set out in state and federal laws concerning racial profiling and discriminatory practices in general. Discrimination in any form, including racial profiling, is strictly prohibited and the department will take immediate and appropriate action to investigate allegations of discrimination. This policy applies to all members of the Houston Police Department both classified and non-classified.
What is Racial Profiling?
Racial profiling is any law enforcement-initiated action based on an individuals race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than on the individuals behavior or information identifying the individual as having engaged in criminal activity.
Examples of racial profiling include but are not limited to the following:
• Initiating a motor vehicle stop on a particular vehicle because of the race, ethnicity, or national origin of the driver of a vehicle
• Stopping or detaining the driver of a vehicle based on the determination that a person of that race, ethnicity, or national origin is unlikely to own or possess that specific make or model of vehicle
• Stopping or detaining an individual based on the determination that a person of that race, ethnicity, or national origin does not belong in a specific part of town or a specific place
Personnel designated by the Chief of Police will compile and place into a report format all incidents concerning racial profiling. The Chief of Police shall disseminate this data as required by statute.
The department shall accept complaints from any person who believes he or she has been stopped, searched, or inappropriately ticketed or arrested based on racial, ethnic, or national origin profiling. No person shall be discouraged, intimidated, or coerced from filing such a complaint, or discriminated against because he or she filed such a complaint. Employees and supervisors shall report any racial profiling practice they observe.
How Do I Make a Complaint?
Complaints against members of the Houston Police Department may be made by letter or in person, and under certain circumstances by phone. No matter how the complaint is made it is the responsibility of the contacted supervisor to inform the complainant of the proper procedure for filing a complaint. State Law requires that complaints involving police officers be sworn under oath and notarized. Complaints can be filed directly at the Central Intake Office. The address of the Central Intake Office is 1200 Travis, Suite #2001, Houston, Texas, 77002-6000, telephone number (713) 308-0040. Citizens may also file a complaint at any police station.
What Happens To My Complaint After It Is Received?
All complaints received by the department are processed through the Central Intake Office. When a complaint is received, it is reviewed to determine the nature of the allegations. The most serious type of complaints are investigated by the Internal Affairs Division. These complaints involving allegations such as excessive force, any discharge of firearms, or criminal activity such as theft are also reviewed by the Independent Police Oversight Board. Complaints comparatively less serious in nature, such as rude behavior or improper procedure, are forwarded to the individual employees division for investigation. In every case, the person making the complaint will be contacted during the investigation for additional information, and will be notified by mail of the final disposition.
What Is Internal
The Houston Police Department Internal Affairs Division was created in 1977 and is mandated to investigate allegations of misconduct against employees of the Houston Police Department. It is a fact-finding entity, and its purpose is three-fold.
Protection of the Public
The public has the right to receive fair, efficient, and impartial law enforcement. Any misconduct by department personnel must be detected, thoroughly investigated, and properly adjudicated to assure the maintenance of this right.
Protection of the Department
The department is often evaluated and judged by the conduct of its individual employees. It is imperative that the whole organization not be criticized because of the misconduct of a few. An informed public must have confidence that its police department honestly and fairly investigates and adjudicates all allegations of misconduct against its employees.
Protection of the Employee
Employees must be protected against false or misinformed allegations of misconduct. This can only be accomplished through a consistently thorough investigative process.
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