The City of Hempstead Police Department
Frequently Asked Questions
Police interact with the public for many different reasons. Sometimes they believe that a person needs help, or they may simply want to warn someone about a potentially dangerous situation. They may, for example, think a person has committed – or has information about – a crime. Remember that each situation is unique, and police officers must alter their response to fit the circumstances.
The following provides the public with some very basic information for interacting with the police during the most common types of encounters.
When Can An Officer Stop Someone?
Under Texas State law, police officers have the right to stop and question someone if they have reason to suspect that a person has committed, are committing, or about to commit a crime. Police officers may, for example, stop a car if the driver has committed a traffic violation or if the person’s car matches the description of a vehicle used in the commission of an offense. There are also many circumstances when the police can stop and ask you general questions, such as your name, address, phone number, and place of employment.
If police officers reasonably suspect that someone is carrying a weapon, for officer safety, they have the right to pat down that person’s clothing. Police officers are not permitted to use race, religion, or ethnicity as the only reason for taking police action.
What Should A Police Officer Do When He Or She Stops Someone?
Inform the person why he or she is being stopped
Give the person his or her name and badge number, upon request
Be courteous and respectful
The police are entitled to ask the person’s name, address, date of birth, and other identifying information. Under certain situations, a person can be arrested for failing to identify themselves to police.
When Interacting With the Police..
Keep their hands visible
Be courteous and respectful
Give information as requested- name, address, date of birth, information you have on crimes, etc
Don’t physically resist arrest, even if you think the police are wrong. A simple mistake can cause more issues and get blown out of proportion.
If You Are Stopped In A Car...
If asked, the driver must show his or her driver’s license and proof of financial responsibility (Liability Insurance most commonly). If asked, the driver and passengers must get out of the car.
When Being Stopped By An Unmarked Police Vehicle…
Drive at a legal speed, obeying traffic laws, turn on your hazard warning lamps, and stop in the first well-lighted or populated area that you come to, like a convenience store or any other business that is open. The officer in an unmarked car should anticipate this and understand what you are doing. If the officer is not in full uniform (he or she might be a detective), the officer will present a badge. If the officer is not in uniform and you reasonably suspect the person is not an officer, ask for their police identification card, ask them to call a uniformed officer in a marked police car to come to the scene, or call 911 on your cell phone to verify the identify of the officer who is not in uniform. Texas Law requires police identification cards to have a telephone number displayed on it that a person can call to verify the holder’s legitimacy. Hempstead Police Department identification cards will display the contact number 979-826-3332.
If You Are Arrested By The Police …
The person has the right to remain silent. If the person decides to speak with the police, anything the person says can be used in a court of law. The person has the right to talk to a lawyer before he or she answers any questions. The police are entitled to ask the person’s name, address, date of birth, and other identifying information.
If The Police Want To Search A Person’s Home, Business Or Vehicle …
A search warrant is a legal document signed by a judge that authorizes the police to enter a particular home, business or vehicle to search for specific evidence as part of a criminal investigation. Generally, the police must have a search warrant to conduct a search. However, there are many exceptions (for example, when an emergency exists, if police are chasing a suspect into a house, when a person is searched when he or she is arrested, or when a person gives his or her permission to search). When serving a search warrant, the police must announce that they have a search warrant and are there to search, unless the search warrant specifically authorizes entry without notice. However, it is not necessary to have a search warrant to enter a home to search for a person if there is an arrest warrant. It is unlawful to resist a search.
If You Are A Crime Victim Or Witness …
In case of an emergency, you can dial 911 from any telephone to get assistance from the police. To make complaints about loud music, disorderly youths, graffiti, or other quality of life complaints, you can call the non-emergency telephone number 979-826-3332. You can also make complaints in person at the Hempstead Police Department.
To Report A Positive Experience With A Police Officer…
Contact the officer’s supervisor at 979-826-3332, or report the experience through the webform on this website, or Email to: Chief D. Hartley
How Do You Make A Complaint Against A Police Officer?
Contact any supervisor of the Hempstead Police Department at 979-826-3332, or make the complaint in person, 8am to 5pm, weekdays.
When Filing A Complaint …
Be sure to include as much information as possible, including:
The specific conduct that you are complaining about
The date or day of week, approximate time, and place the encounter took place
The Officer’s name
Description of the Officer
Names of other witnesses
As always, if you have any other questions or need assistance feel free to contact us.