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Program Information
 2 of 2 
 Copwatch Investigates Police Response to Civilian Complaints
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 Copwatch
 Anonymous  
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Copwatch carried out its own investigation, writing letters and making telephone calls requesting complaint forms. Even to this most simple request, police reactions are worthy of review and interest from the public and lawmakers.
In its investigation, Houston Copwatch found over half of 50 area police agencies fail to meet minimum standards for public requests for complaint forms. Houston and Harris County are riddled with agencies that claim they have no forms, they cannot send forms, or officers who simply do not know how to handle complaints. While Copwatch found many agencies to be helpful and willing to at least send complaint forms, we found many more officers to be evasive and all-too-willing to deliver a slap in the face to public accountability.

Clearly, being able to file complaints is not the definitive solution. Houston and Harris County have had a troubling history in which officers face little to no sanction for misconduct or abuse. In Baytown, officers who killed Luis Torres (a 45-year-old Mexican with a work visa, who was pinned to the ground, handcuffed and pepper sprayed on Jan. 20 in an incident the Harris County Medical Examiner ruled a homicide) are still on the job. Officers allegedly involved in misconduct have seldom been dismissed or served jail time.

Although not a complete solution, complaint forms offer the public access to the grievance system, but fairness will only be achieved when the grievance system itself becomes transparent and in line with the public interest. History demonstrates that police or governmental appointees cannot handle such accountability. Remedies such a civilian oversight boards, with full investigative and punitive powers, should be considered immediately.

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00:31:07 English
 Houston, Texas
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Precinct 6 Constable's Office  00:02:18  112Kbps mp3
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Precinct 8 Constable's Office  00:02:30  112Kbps mp3
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Rice University Police Department  00:03:17  112Kbps mp3
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University of Houston Police Department  00:06:11  112Kbps mp3
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University of Houston-Clear Lake Police Department  00:02:33  112Kbps mp3
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University of Houston-Downtown Police Department  00:03:30  112Kbps mp3
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10  University of Texas at Houston Police Department  00:03:40  112Kbps mp3
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11   00:00:00  112Kbps mp3
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12   00:00:00  112Kbps mp3
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