Inquiries, Complaints, and Commendations

Office of Personnel Accountability

The University of Texas at Austin Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality of police service. In order to be responsive to community needs, it is necessary to have citizen input. Your feedback about our service will help us improve as we strive to be respected and trusted by all segments of the University’s diverse community.

Filing a Complaint

The University of Texas at Austin Police Department Office of Personnel Accountability reports directly to the Chief of Police and is responsible for providing fair and impartial investigations of allegations of misconduct by department employees from complaints within the department, as well as external investigations, which come from the public. Each year, The Office of Personnel Accountability completes an annual report of its activities.

View Annual Complaint Statistics 

It is the policy of UTPD to vigorously and thoroughly investigate each complaint against its employees to preserve the public confidence of our employees. All such investigations are conducted in a fair and expeditious manner in accordance with the department, state and federal laws and regulations. Below you will find a step-by-step guide to the complaint process. You may also view our brochure (PDF).

Who can make a complaint?

Any person who witnesses or has direct knowledge of police employee misconduct may make a complaint with the University of Texas at Austin Police Department. UTPD will investigate any employee actions that are contrary to department policy, are a violation of law, or involve the use of excessive force or discourteous treatment.

How do you file a complaint?

An inquiry or complaint can be made by letter, telephone (512-471-4441), in person, by email, or through an online form. Any UTPD employee whose duties involve public contact may accept an initial inquiry or complaint against personnel, procedures or policies. If the inquiry or complaint is about personnel, you should contact the employee’s shift commander. If the shift commander is not available, you may contact the on-duty supervisor. The supervisor will ensure that your inquiry or complaint is directed to the proper authority. If your inquiry or complaint appears to be based on a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge of acceptable or desired conduct, procedures or practices, the UTPD employee may offer an explanation. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you may insist on speaking with the employee’s supervisor.

Please be prepared to provide the following:      

  • Date, time and location of the event 
  • The names of UTPD employees involved (if known)    
  • Name, address and telephone number of any possible witnesses

Who investigates the complaint?

Once your inquiry or complaint is received, it will be thoroughly investigated by a person designated by the Chief of Police.

The investigation will usually include:

  • A review of all applicable reports, policies and procedures
  •  An examination of any evidence or medical records
  •  Interviews with all parties and witnesses.

A simple inquiry might take only a day to complete, while a complex complaint might take two or three months to investigate and review. If the investigator determines that an employee violated department policies or procedures, appropriate corrective action is taken. The Chief of Police will review the complaint and findings. This review is to ensure that the investigation was handled thoroughly and objectively. The chief’s review will also include looking for ways to improve policies, procedures and training.

How will I know the results of an investigation?

You will receive written notification of the Investigator’s findings. There are four possible findings: 1. Sustained – The allegation made in the complaint is supported by sufficient evidence. 2. Not Sustained – There is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation made in the complaint. 3. Unfounded – The investigation shows that the allegation is false, not factual. 4. Exonerated – The investigation shows that the alleged incident did occur, but was justified, lawful and proper under the circumstances.

Disciplinary action can include reprimand, suspension or termination. Sometimes training is appropriate. If a crime has been alleged, the County or District Attorney will determine if criminal charges should be filed. Although we cannot guarantee that you will be satisfied, we do guarantee that your inquiry will be investigated thoroughly. You will be allowed to discuss the results with the Chief of Police or his designee.

Commending Exceptional Performance

When you receive service from our department that you feel is worthy of recognition, let us know about it. You may write a brief email about your experience. Information such as the date, time and location will help identify the employee if you do not know their name. If you prefer giving us a call, you may dial 512-471-4441, select extension 9, and ask to speak with the individual’s supervisor. Commendations received by the Chief of Police are forwarded to the employee with a copy placed in his or her personnel file. Although our employees do not expect to be thanked for everything they do, recognition of exceptional service is always appreciated. This kind of feedback helps us to know if we are doing a good job.

Performance Survey

UTPD is committed to providing the highest quality of police service. In order to be responsive to community needs, it is necessary to have citizen input. Your feedback about our service will help us improve as we strive to be respected and trusted by all segments of The University’s diverse community. Citizen comments are essential if we are to succeed as an agency. Please take a moment to complete a short survey.