Learn about the complaint process.

Complaint specialists in the Office of Police Oversight monitor the investigation process conducted by the APD Internal Affairs Division. Complaints are investigated, as determined by Internal Affairs. The Office of Police Oversight does not investigate complaints.

Here's What to Expect


Investigations could take up to six months to complete and may require one to four hours of your time over the course of those months. At the end, you will have the option of a close-out meeting to discuss the outcome of your complaint in detail.

Investigation Process

Your complaint will be investigated by a sergeant in Internal Affairs, a division of the Austin Police Department, and overseen by the Office of Police Oversight.

1. The Office of Police Oversight Receives Your Complaint.

Upon receipt of a new complaint, the OPO will forward the complaint and all information provided to the internal affairs division for investigation.

The purpose of Civilian Oversight is:

  • To assure timely, fair, impartial, and objective administrative review of complaints against police officers, while protecting the individual rights of officers and civilians.

  • To provide an independent and objective review of the policies and procedures of the Austin Police Department.

  • To provide a non-exclusive location for accepting administrative complaints of officer misconduct.

  • To provide transparency in policing and thereby fostering trust between the community and the Police Department.

If you provided your contact information, a staff person with the Office of Police Oversight will contact you within 5 business days.

2. Internal Affairs Begins an Investigation.

Internal Affairs reviews the complaint and classifies it according to Austin Police Department’s policy and employee manual.

Class A complaints include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal conduct

  • Serious policy violations

  • Conduct that could damage the Police Department

Class B complaints include, but are not limited to:

  • Policy violations such as profanity, belittling language, inadequate police service, or minor traffic violations

  • Negligent damage or loss of property

  • Negligent crashes

Class C complaints are not policy violations, but the officer might need training to handle the situation better.

Class D complaints are not policy violations because the evidence shows they are false.

  • Administrative Inquiries are ordered by the Chief or their designee, generally for issues that could damage the Police Department.

  • Supervisor Referrals are used when the complainant requests to speak with a supervisor.

  • Community Concerns are used when a complainant contacts the Office of Police Oversight with a concern, often anonymously. The Office of Police Oversight then sends it to Internal Affairs for investigation and further classification, if deemed necessary.

3. If Necessary, the Chief of Police Determines the Outcome, Which May Include Disciplinary Action.

The nature of your complaint will determine if any policy change or disciplinary action occurs.

The decision is categorized according to Austin Police Department’s policy and employee manual.

  • Sustained: The evidence supports the allegation.

  • Exonerated: The evidence supports the allegation, but it was not a policy violation.

  • Unfounded: The evidence does not support the allegation.

  • Inconclusive: The evidence isn’t enough to either support the allegation or exonerate the officer(s).

  • Administratively Closed:

  • All of the following are true:

  • (a) There were no allegations or there was no misconduct.

  • (b) It was classified as a Class C or Class D complaint.

  • (c) At the discretion of the Chief or their designee. This category is also used when the officer(s) retired or resigned during the investigation.

4. We Notify You of the Outcome.

We notify you of the outcome via email or mail if you provided your contact information. We will also offer you the option of a close-out meeting to discuss the outcome of your complaint, as well as an interpreter if you requested one.

The Chief of Police retains all management rights and authority over the process of administrative investigation of alleged misconduct by APD Officers that could result in disciplinary action.