304 – Obedience to Orders

You are here:


Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) employees shall, at all times, respond to and obey any just and lawful order from a supervisor or acting authority to permit effective supervision, direction, and control. [CALEA Standard 12.1.3]

Employees shall respond to and obey any just and lawful order from any supervisor or other proper acting authority whether or not the supervisor or acting authority is in the employee’s chain of command.

In the event a supervisor or acting authority cannot transmit an order directly, the supervisor can delegate another employee of equal or lesser rank to transmit such order to affected personnel.

The affected personnel shall be required to respond to and obey such order as if the supervisor or acting authority issued the order directly.

The issuing supervisor or acting authority shall confirm the order was issued properly with due respect to all affected personnel and confirm that the duty tasks set forth in the order were completed as stated.

A conflict of orders arises when an employee, acting under orders from a supervisor or acting authority whom may not be present, receives or is given orders that conflict with or in some manner prevents the employee from completing original orders or instructions.

Such conflict should be discreetly and respectfully brought to the attention of the supervisor or acting authority whom has issued the conflicting orders.

If the conflicting orders are not rescinded, the employee shall obey the last order received. In doing so, the employee shall not be held accountable for failure to obey the original order.

The supervisor or acting authority who issued the last order is responsible for notifying the supervisor or acting authority who gave the original order and for justifying the decision to overrule the original order.

Unlawful Orders:

Any employee who reasonably and in good faith believes that he or she has received an unlawful order has the right to refuse to obey such order.

The employee shall, in a discreet and respectful manner, inform the supervisor who issued the order of his or her intent not to obey the order and the reasons for not obeying.

If there is a subsequent investigation to determine why the order was not obeyed, the employee shall be required to establish that the order was illegal or unjust under the circumstances.

“Unlawful order” is defined as an order that violates federal, state, or local statutes. Such order may also violate HCSO policy.


This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009

Previous 303 – Conduct Prohibited
Next 305 – Performance of Duty
Was this policy helpful?
How can we improve this policy?
Table of Contents