Communications division

Community partnerships are a cornerstone of the Office of Police Oversight's (OPO) mission and were critical to its founding.

Through community engagement, the OPO works to engage the community to prioritize equity, empathy, and direct connection. OPO engaged the community by hosting events, building partnerships with community organizations, increasing language access, and publishing accessible information about policing. In 2019, OPO attended 251 events. In 2020, OPO attended 76 events.

OPO has actively engaged community members to raise awareness about topics like:

  • How to file complaints and thank yous
  • What their rights are when interacting with officers
  • How to voice their opinions about APD policies and procedures

Accessible information about policing in Austin

In March 2019, the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) launched a new website where individuals can submit complaints or thank yous for the Austin Police Department (APD). To increase accessibility, the online complaint form underwent detailed user accessibility testing to ensure it was easy to use. In addition, OPO's website is mobile-friendly, the content is searchable, and it is also translated into Spanish.

In addition to submitting complaints or thanks, OPO’s website houses the documents that OPO may make public. These documents include:

  • Notices of Formal Complaints
  • Reprimands and suspensions
  • Policy and discipline recommendations
  • Formal memoranda from the OPO Director
  • APD responses to OPO recommendations and memoranda
  • Published reports

In 2020, additional improvements were made to the website to make it easier to navigate. Community members can search documents by type, filter by date, and search by keyword, including officer name, APD policy, or type of discipline. This improvement enhances transparency by making it easier for community members to find the information they are seeking.

Language access

Language access is a priority for OPO's education efforts. OPO developed the Know Your Rights video series to educate community members on their rights during police encounters. With the help of community volunteers, these videos were translated into 7 languages.

OPO also publishes information about how to file a complaint or thanks in 7 different languages. High-quality translations have been critical to OPO's outreach at community events like the Lunar New Year Festival, Austin Refugee Day Festival, and the Consulate General of Mexico's annual resource fair.

In 2019 and 2020, OPO offered 24 events with Spanish interpreters, three with Vietnamese, two with Arabic, and Chinese, Korean, Urdu, Hindi, and American Sign Language.

Police Oversight Advisory Working Group

After Austin City Council passed Resolution 201903220-47 in March 2018, the City Manager created the Police Oversight Advisory Working Group (Working Group). The purpose of the Working Group was to make recommendations to improve police oversight in Austin.

The Working Group analyzed data, evaluated best practices, and drafted a proposal for consideration by the City Manager and Austin City Council. The Working Group included representatives from a variety of stakeholders. Click hereopen_in_new for more information on the Police Oversight Advisory Working Group.

Transition Advisory Committee

During 2019, OPO’s first year, the Transition Advisory Committee (TAC) provided feedback on critical initiatives, including community engagement, data analysis, and critical incident briefings. TAC was crucial to including and incorporating the community's voice in OPO and guiding our office toward growth and expansion.

Participation in the TAC included members from these diverse community groups:

  • Asian American Quality of Life Commission
  • Austin Justice Coalition
  • Austin Police Association
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Greater Mount Zion Church
  • Go Austin/Vamos Austin
  • Measure Austin
  • Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation
  • Undoing White Supremacy

Contact information

contact_phone
Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676

Contact information

contact_phone
Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676
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