The goal of the Professional Standards Unit is to ensure that all complaints or allegations against the Artesia Police Department or any of its employees are investigated in a thorough, fair, and impartial manner. The rights of all citizens and employees of the Artesia Police Department shall be protected and confidentiality shall be maintained at the highest standard. We strive to earn the trust and confidence of the citizens we proudly serve while maintaining the highest level of ethical behavior and integrity for the Artesia Police Department by identifying, recognizing, and resolving public safety concerns.
Each complaint of misconduct alleged to the department is received, processed and closed. The General Complaint Handling Process (PDF) breaks this process down in a visual manner allowing interested parties to understand what happens once the department receives a complaint of misconduct.
To submit a compliment or complaint regarding a member of the department, you may complete the online form, obtain a form from City Hall or the Records Section of the Artesia Police Department. A supervisor may also be contacted concerning the need to make a complaint of misconduct. They may contact a complainant by phone or in person.
The Professional Standards Unit is staffed by Sergeant Kirk Roberts. The Professional Standards Unit reports directly to the Chief of Police through the Administrative Command.
Process for Reviewing Use of Force & Response to Resistance Incidents
The Artesia Police Department Professional Standards Unit reviews each instance:
- When an employee uses any degree of touching, force or physical restraint which, by the nature of its use, causes, or has the likelihood to cause bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death or has a likelihood to cause a complaint of bodily injury or serious bodily injury, although no visible injury is present. This excludes fingerprinting, normal transport duties for detention personnel unless a physical confrontation ensues;
- When an employee touches or strikes a person either with personal weapons or impact weapons or shows those weapons in a manner that would lead a person to believe they may be used;
- When an employee uses OC spray or a chemical agent or shows those weapons in a manner that would lead a person to believe they may be used;
- When an employee uses force pertaining to the PepperBall weapons system or shows this weapon in a manner that would lead a person to believe it may be used;
- When a Police Officer uses a TASER in the lawful discharge of his duties or shows this weapon in a manner that would lead a person to believe it may be used;
- Whenever a person is touched by a police canine for apprehension or when an officer shows a canine in a manner that would lead a person to believe it may be used;
- When a Police Officer points a firearm at a person within the scope of his law enforcement authority;
- When a Police Officer displays his/her firearm while not in uniform but in the presence of a suspect or the public;
- When a Police Officer discharges a firearm in his/her law enforcement authority, for other than training or recreational purposes including at an animal;
- When any other type of improvised weapon is shown or used;
- When a Police Officer verbally threatens a person with any force.
One or more of three determinations are made as a result of the initial review:
- Was the incident handled within policy as it concerns use of force and response to resistance?
- Was the incident handled lawfully?
- Was the handling of the entire incident appropriate?
If one or more of the above questions are answered no by the initial reviewer, the incident is referred to the Chief and his Command Staff who determine either:
- The incident was handled appropriately; or
- The incident requires all facts to be brought forward using a formal administrative investigational process. After which the employee's chain of command makes the determination that the misconduct alleged is:
- Sustained=the allegation is true and out of policy or unlawful (appropriate action is always taken after this finding);
- Not sustained=the facts could not be gathered to support or deny the allegation;
- Unfounded=there was no truth to the allegation; or
- Exonerated=the allegation is true but is recognized as a standard police procedure.
View the 2017 PSU APD Use of Force Report (PDF). It will be updated on a monthly basis.