Executive summary: OPO's 2019-2020 annual report

The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) was established on November 15, 2018. The purpose of this report is to document and share OPO’s activities and achievements over 2019 and 2020.

OPO’s mission is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department’s conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community.

Providing impartial oversight to enhance accountability

OPO worked to provide impartial oversight of APD to enhance accountability by improving on and creating new standards. For example, ensuring that community complaints were processed promptly and subsequent investigations by APD were conducted thoroughly and fairly. Additionally, in 2019, OPO launched a redesigned website to take online complaints or thank yous and post community member complaints.

In 2020, OPO also sent formal objections to APD. In one objection, OPO highlighted issues that arose during an investigation into officer misconduct and recommended areas for improvement. In another objection, OPO challenged APD's decision to decrease discipline for violations of body-worn camera and dash-camera policies.

In 2020, OPO worked to enhance accountability by participating in the creation of APD's policy on critical incident videos. APD has released three critical incident videos to the community, and OPO has been involved in creating and consulting on the production with APD.

Informing the public to increase transparency

In 2019 and 2020, OPO worked with the Equity Office and Office of Innovation to publish two joint reports analyzing APD’s racial profiling data. These reports serve as a baseline to measure the effectiveness of citywide efforts to eliminate racial disparities in traffic stops. OPO also published its first officer-involved shooting report in 2020, which analyzed all APD officers' incidents in 2018.

In 2020, OPO collaborated with the University of Texas School of Law to create a course for the APD Training Academy on the history of race and policing both nationally and locally. This course will now be taught as part of the Training Academy curriculum.

OPO works closely with the Community Police Review Commission (CPRC) to increase transparency. The City Manager appointed this group of community volunteers who, among other things, can make policy recommendations related to APD and OPO and review critical incidents APD has investigated.

Creating sustainable partnerships

In 2019 and 2020, OPO continued to focus on building and nurturing partnerships in a way that prioritized equity, empathy, and direct connection. For example, OPO made significant changes to its website, media, and written materials to improve ease of access and address issues like language and digital access. These changes involved creating the Know Your Rights video series in 7 languages, conducting user accessibility testing for the OPO website, and ensuring the OPO website was mobile-friendly and searchable.

OPO also engaged with the community through signature programming. OPO instituted community office hours in neighborhood libraries and recreational centers throughout all 10 City Council Districts. OPO also began hosting a semi-annual Community Leaders Breakfast to invite the public to learn more about OPO’s work and connect with leaders throughout the community.

OPO is committed to continuing excellent work and increasing transparency and accountability. The past two years have demonstrated that this work will continue to require OPO to build and expand while maintaining a solid foundation in the community. OPO continues to seek and implement opportunities for improvement to achieve our mission.

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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