What is Internal Affairs?
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 first be detected, then thoroughly investigated and finally, properly adjudicated to assure the maintenance of these qualities.
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.
How Do I Make a Complaint?
State law requires that complaints involving police officers be sworn under oath and notarized. For your convenience, a complaint form can be printed from the attached link titled “Complaint Sworn Affidavit | Complaint Sworn Affidavit Spanish.” It does not require an appearance at headquarters or a substation. Complaints against members of the Houston Police Department may be initiated in person to a supervisor at any police substation throughout the City of Houston, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They may also be made in person at the Internal Affairs/Central Intake Office, which is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except during City holidays). The Internal Affairs/Central Intake Office is located at Police Headquarters, 1200 Travis, Suite 2001, Houston, Texas, 77002. There is also the option of filling out the form, getting it notarized and then mailing it to the address above. Community organizations, including LULAC, the Urban League, and the NAACP have the same form and staff that have been trained to assist with the filing of a complaint. Information on filing a complaint can be obtained by contacting the Central Intake Office at (713) 308-0040 or by contacting any police substation or supervisor.
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 involve allegations such as excessive force, any discharge of firearms, or criminal activity such as theft. Complaints comparatively less serious in nature, such as rude behavior or improper procedure, are forwarded to the individual officer's 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 The IPOB?
The Independent Police Oversight Board (IPOB) is comprised of citizens selected by the Mayor to review internal police investigations. The board is comprised of three (3) panels. Each panel consists of seven (7) members with one member elected by the panel as Chairperson. The panel members' terms are staggered to allow for both new members and continuity.
The Purpose of IPOB
The board's purpose is to review internal investigations to determine if the investigation was sufficient, the conclusions correct and that proper discipline is issued. The board makes a recommendation on each and every case it reviews to the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police has the final authority in all cases. The board's review of an investigation is the last step prior to the investigation going to the Chief of Police. In this manner, the IPOB has an opportunity to not only review the completed investigations, which have been reviewed by various levels of the Police Department, but an opportunity to review the recommended discipline as well. The board reviews internal investigations which meet the following criteria:
- Excessive Force
- Discharge of Firearms
- Incidents resulting in serious bodily injury or death
- Any other investigations requested and approved for review by the Chief of Police
Independent Police Oversight Board members may be reached by mail at the following address:
Independent Police Oversight Board
1200 Travis, Suite 2001
Houston, Texas 77002-6006
Non-emergency Police Service:
Central Intake Office:
Internal Affairs Division: