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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Analysis

UHPD by the numbers: 2019 police complaints explained


Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

The University of Houston Police Department’s 2019 Internal Affairs Deposition report reveals that the number of complaints filed against non-sworn police personnel was nearly double that of sworn police personnel.

The report shows a narrowing gap between complaints filed against sworn and non-sworn police personnel in comparison to data from 2018. 

Comprised of security, dispatch and support services employees, non-sworn police personnel make up 56 of the 87 complaints filed in 2019, while sworn police personnel account for 29 of the total count.

This compares to 69 and 29 complaints filed against non-sworn and sworn police personnel in 2018, respectively. 

Sworn police personnel take an oath to support the Constitution, the state and the laws within a specific agency’s jurisdiction, as well as ensuring the safety and quality of life in the community. 

Non-sworn police personnel refers to all UHPD employees who are not sworn in upon being hired, according to UHPD Capt. Brett Collier.

“’Sworn’ is a colloquialism used to refer to police officers of all ranks,” Collier said. “Police officers are ‘sworn-in’ when they are hired by a department, which is the origin of that term.” 

Complaints against sworn and non-sworn police personnel alike are subject to a full investigation by the Internal Affairs Investigative Unit or to a Supervisory Review by the employee’s immediate supervisor. 

Incidents related to misconduct undergo Internal Affairs investigations, while those deemed employee performance issues are evaluated through Supervisor Review. 

Police personnel account for 50 percent of all Internal Affairs investigations and 23 percent of Supervisory Reviews conducted in 2019. The percentages reflect an increase in the number of Internal Affairs investigations into police personnel from 42 percent in 2018. 

In 2019, security personnel accounted for the majority of the investigations conducted among non-sworn police personnel. as well as in the department overall. 

The uniformed civilian personnel make up 49 of the 87 total department-wide investigations, according to statistical data acquired from UHPD. 

Security comprises 38 percent of all Internal Affairs investigations and 68 percent of Supervisory Reviews for 2019. This compares to 39 percent and 67 percent in 2018, respectively. 

Complaints are broken down into 14 categories including loss of property, minor policy violations and accidents. 

Loss of property accounted for the most complaints in 2019, with 17 total. This is an increase of four from 2018. 

Minor policy violations and accidents accounted for the second and third most complaints for 2019, with 16 and 13. There was a decrease in both categories from the 20 and 16 reported in 2018, respectively. 

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