Professional Standards Division

Professional Standards Division

The Fort Worth Police Department Professional Standards Division is responsible for investigating all allegations of misconduct. This includes administrative (policy) violations and criminal (statute) violations. These investigations are conducted by the Internal Affairs Section (IA) and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). IA conducts administrative investigations and SIU conducts criminal investigations.

SIU conducts criminal investigations where any city employee is listed as a possible suspect. This includes any city employee whether they work for police, fire, water, code enforcement, or any other city department and also includes members of the city council and persons appointed to certain city boards. As public servants, we are entrusted with certain responsibilities and are accountable both to the citizens and the City of Fort Worth for the dutiful and considerate conduct of city business. SIU plays a very important role in ensuring that the public trust is maintained and that city employees are held accountable for criminal conduct.

IA investigates misconduct related to policy violations. These types of investigations are described in more detail below. Internal Affairs performs a critical function that lies at the absolute core of police legitimacy and public trust. IA takes this responsibility very seriously and is dedicated to ensuring that allegations of police misconduct are thoroughly investigated. To that end, Internal Affairs maintains a proactive posture that encourages citizen participation.

Compliments and Complaints regarding Fort Worth Police personnel may be sent directly to Internal Affairs at 505 W. Felix St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76115, called in to 817-392-4270, emailed to FWPD_InternalAffairs@fortworthtexas.gov, or completed online here. Normal business hours for IA are: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday, however, special arrangements can be made to accommodate different schedules. Unresolved issues with the IA process may be addressed by emailing the Professional Standards Division Captain at CPD_ProfessionalStandardsCaptain@fortworthtexas.gov

Internal Affairs Mission & Purpose

The Mission of the Internal Affairs Section is to enhance and maintain the integrity and ethical standards of the Fort Worth Police Department. This will be accomplished through complete and objective investigations.

Purpose:
The purpose of the Internal Affairs Section is to investigate or coordinate the investigation of allegations of misconduct (including administrative allegations related criminal misconduct) against police department employees, maintain related records and liaison the City Attorney’s office to handle legal process (subpoenas) that affect the police department.

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Misconduct Investigation Examples

Examples of typical investigations conducted by Internal Affairs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Excessive force - Learn more about the Use of Force Departmental Reporting Process and the Use of Force Investigation Process
  • Sexual harassment
  • Hostile work environment
  • Disparate treatment due to gender, race, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation
  • Retaliation for reporting the misconduct of another
  • Inappropriate conduct or comment of a sexual nature
  • Inappropriate comment regarding gender, race, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation

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Complaint Process

Step 1 - Initiating a Complaint
"Initiating" a complaint means providing basic information including complainant information, officer information (if known), witness information (if known), and a brief description of the alleged misconduct. Initial complaints serve to start the complaint process. There are several methods for citizens to initiate complaints against Fort Worth Police personnel. These include in-person, regular mail, email, telephone, using the online complaint form, and by contacting the Office of Police Oversight & Monitoring (OPOM).

  1. In Person - Complaints can be initiated in person at the time of the incident by requesting that a supervisor be dispatched to the location. This request can be made to any officer on the scene or by calling the non-emergency number 817-392-4222.  Complaints can also be filed in person by coming to the Professional Standards Division (Internal Affairs) located at 505 W. Felix St.
  2. A complaint may also be initiated by mailing written correspondence to 505 W. Felix St. Fort Worth, Texas, 76115, Attn: Internal Affairs.  Internal Affairs may also be contacted by telephone at 817-392-4270, or by sending an email to FWPD_InternalAffairs@fortworthtexas.gov
  3. For convenience, complaints may also be initiated by submitting an online complaint form.  The form may be access by clicking here: File a Compliment or Complaint Online
  4. Alternatively, if person does not feel comfortable contacting Internal Affairs, they may contact the Office of Police Oversight & Monitoring and initiate a complaint through their office.  Their contact information is located here: OPOM

Investigating the Complaint
Once a complaint has been initiated as described above, the complaint is given a tracking number and is assigned for investigation. The assigned investigator will conduct a complete and thorough investigation including as a minimum:

  • Obtaining a formal sworn statement when required. Allegations that are administrative in nature usually do not require a formal statement; however, any complaint from a citizen alleging that they were harmed by an officer’s alleged misconduct must include a sworn statement as required by Texas Local Government Code 143.312(g). The City of Fort Worth Meet & Confer Contract defines a complaining party as "a person making a complaint that he or she was harmed by the officer’s alleged misconduct."
  • Collecting all available evidence including video, witness statements, and any other evidence that aids in understanding the truth of what occurred.
  • Assembling a comprehensive investigative report containing all relevant facts and information surrounding the alleged misconduct. This report is unbiased, impartial, and devoid of any opinions or judgment related to the truth of the complaint.

Step 3 - Complaint Review & Findings
The investigative report is sent out electronically using “BlueTeam” software. This software allows for step by step tracking of the case throughout the review process. Each level in the Officer’s chain of command will review the report and will make a “finding” as to the truth of each allegation. Possible findings are described below under the Disposition section. As the case moves up the chain of command, each progressive level will either concur or disagree with the preceding level’s findings. When the case reaches its terminal level (determined by the Meet & Confer Contract & Departmental General Orders) the final finding will be applied and the appropriate recommended action (if any) will be taken.

Step 4 - Disciplinary Action
Disciplinary Action will only be taken for sustained allegations as described above. If an allegation is found to be anything other than sustained, no further action will be taken for that allegation. In accordance with 143.312(g), Internal Affairs must notify officers of the allegations against them before the officer can be interviewed.

"Disciplinary Action" as defined in the City of Fort Worth Meet & Confer Contract means a suspension, demotion, or indefinite suspension. A suspension is time off work without pay, a demotion is a reduction in rank with a corresponding reduction in pay and assignment, and an indefinite suspension is the civil service equivalent of termination. In each of these disciplinary actions, an Officer is entitled to certain rights described below in the Legal Stuff section.

The timeline for civil service disciplinary action is established by Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code. These statutes require that disciplinary action related to non-criminal conduct must be issued within 180 days of the date the alleged misconduct occurred. The Fort Worth Police Department strives to process complaints efficiently by adhering to this Timeline for complaint resolution whenever possible. Exception may occur based on the complexity of the case, delays in IA being notified of the alleged misconduct, the availability of witnesses, and other factors.

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Disposition

How is an allegation proven, what are the possible "findings"?

An allegation is "sustained" when the evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that a violation of the policy or procedure occurred; this standard of evidence is called the "preponderance of evidence".

Possible findings for alleged misconduct include:

  1. Unfounded: The investigation conclusively proved that the act or acts complained of did not occur, or the member named in the allegation was not involved in the act or acts, which may have occurred.
  2. Exonerated: The act or acts, which provided the basis for the allegation or complaint occurred; however, the investigation revealed the act or acts were justified, lawful, and proper.
  3. Sustained: The investigation disclosed sufficient evidence to clearly prove the allegation made in the complaint.
  4. Not Sustained: The investigation failed to disclose sufficient evidence to clearly prove or disprove the allegation made in the complaint.
  5. Complaint Withdrawn: The complainant affirmatively indicated the desire to withdraw his/her complaint.

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Legal Stuff

The Fort Worth Police Department is governed and controlled by Texas Civil Service Statutes contained in Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code. In addition to civil service provisions, the Department is also bound by the provisions contained in the Meet & Confer Contract between the City of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Police Officer’s Association.

Some of the legal protections afforded to Police Officers include:

  • Right to notice of allegations against them
  • Right to a copy of personnel complaint including sworn statements from complainants
  • Right to 48 hours notice before being interviewed by IA
  • Right to appeal disciplinary action (suspension, demotion, indefinite suspension)
  • Right to due process (4th & 14th amendment)
  • Right to pre-disciplinary meeting (Loudermill meeting)
  • Right to view videos, statements, and other information prior to interview
  • Right to remain silent in criminal investigation (5th amendment)
  • Right to counsel in criminal investigation (6th amendment)
  • Right to peer representation during IA interview (M&C Contract)

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Public Information Requests

Requests for information made pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act are referred to the Internal Affairs Division’s Legal Liaison Section for processing pursuant to City’s Administrative Regulation for public information requests if they pertain to police department related records or personnel. To submit a Public Information Request, please visit the Public Information Portal. If you have any questions, please contact the Legal Liaison Sergeant at 817-392-4272.

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Fort Worth Police Foundation


The Fort Worth Police Foundation, formerly known as the Fort Worth Police Officers’ Award Foundation, is a non-profit organization that exists to recognize and promote the professionalism and excellence of Fort Worth Police Officers. Founded in 1981, it was established by the business community to support local police and recognize excellence in performance with the ultimate goal being a reduction in crime. To make a donation, or for more information, click the button below.

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