December 22, 2020

Community Police Review Commission letter on the General Orders

The purpose of this letter is to advocate and urge support for one of the Community Police Review Commission’s (CPRC) primary functions of reviewing and recommending changes to the Austin Police Department’s (APD) General Orders. This document was sent to Austin City Council and Austin Police Department to request support for the CPRC's involvement in the revisions addressed in Resolution 95open_in_new.

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TO: Farah Muscadin, Director - Office of Police Oversight; Brian Manley, Chief of Police; Spencer Cronk, City Manager; Councilmembers of the Public Safety Committee Jimmy Flannigan, Greg Casar, Natasha Harper-Madison, and Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza FROM: Amani Seay, Chair - Community Policy Review Commission; Sukyi McMahon, Vice-Chair - Community Police Review Commission DATE: December 22, 2020 SUBJECT: CPRC’s Role in Review and Recommendations for APD’s General Orders The purpose of this letter is to advocate and urge support for one of the Community Police Review Commission’s (CPRC) primary functions of reviewing and recommending changes to the Austin Police Department’s (APD) General Orders, specifically your support for our involvement in the revisions addressed in ​Resolution 95​, because we believe that these and all General Orders should go through community review. Resolution 95 was approved by Austin City Council on June 11, 2020. These include APD policies: ● 206.2.3 Approved Control Devices, Use Of Tear Gas. ● Use Of Force. ● 200.3 Response To Resistance, Chokehold Use. ● 800.5 Equipment Inventory Control Military Equipment. ● 405.4 No-knock Search Warrants. ● 1000.5 Department Hardware And Software Facial Recognition and Acoustic Devices. While the current purview of the CPRC outlined in Resolution 95 is limited to review and revision of the Use of Force General Orders, “ implement this policy directive shall be conducted in an open process that is facilitated by the Office of Police Oversight and includes feedback from community groups,” the CPRC believes that all policies addressed in Resolution 95 are in our scope of review and recommendation. The Office of Police Oversight developed a workflow chart titled “APD General Orders Revision Process,” (see addendum) in the summer of 2020. The CPRC is in alignment with the community process as presented by this chart and the interpretation of the Office of Police Oversight, which lists the CPRC as one of the community groups to participate in the review process and to provide feedback for the Resolution 95 General Orders. We are driven to be engaged in these policy revisions, as another important function of the CPRC is to address concerns raised by the community. The scrutiny, review, and revision of these policies arose as a 512.974.9000 result of the community’s outcry over APD’s response to protests over the spring and summer of 2020​, and our charge is to serve in this capacity as a resource for the community. We recommend that the CPRC be actively engaged in the review of the Resolution 95 General Order policies and all others before they are implemented. As our city continues to review and improve the practices of APD we look forward to being a continual resource to provide community insight and recommendations. We look forward to future collaboration in policy review to help increase safety in our community. Amani Seay Chair - Community Police Review Commission Sukyi McMahon Vice-Chair - Community Police Review Commission About the CPRC The CPRC launched in September 2020, with the approval of the City Manager and as referenced in the Meet and Confer Agreement 2018, Article 16 Sec.1: “The purpose of Civilian Oversight is to provide an independent and objective review of the policies and procedures of the Austin Police Department and to provide transparency in policing and thereby fostering trust between the community and the Police Department. Civilian Oversight may include an Office of the Police Oversight and a Community Panel/Board.” CPRC’s Mission and Vision - The CPRC is a diverse volunteer team dedicated to seeing the Austin Police Department reflect the values of the community. We are committed to impartial incident review and represent the voices of numerous communities in the Austin area.​ The CPRC listens to and promotes the community’s voice in policing and public safety in Austin. We champion conduct, practices, and policies centered in dignity and equity, and we do so by utilizing community feedback to help advise Austin Police Department (APD) on what practices they ought to start, stop, continue, or change​.​ We envision all Austin communities having transparent, fair, thorough, and effective public safety processes and policies.​ Addendum

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