OPO’s Three-Phase Approach

This report concludes Phase III of OPO’s three-phase process to facilitate a rewrite of Austin Police Department (APD) policies related to body-worn and dashboard cameras. In accordance with resolutions passed by the Austin City Council in June 2020, the City Manager has directed OPO to facilitate a rewrite of the APD policy manual, known as the General Orders.[1] OPO worked with the City Manager’s Office to develop a three-phase approach to accomplish this task.

Background Information

In Phase I, OPO conducts a preliminary analysis of APD’s current policy language on specific topics. All analyses are made available on OPO’s website.open_in_new

In Phase II, OPO works with community partners and stakeholders to gather input from the public about proposed changes to policies. This outreach effort includes events, surveys, and other forms of community engagement.

In Phase III, OPO submits policy recommendations and community feedback to the City Manager, City Council, and APD. Then, APD is responsible for working with the City Manager’s Office to review and act on these final recommendations.

Applying the Three-Phase Approach to APD’s Body-Worn and Dashboard Camera Policies

OPO used this same three-phase approach to address APD’s policies on body-worn and dashboard cameras.

In January 2022, OPO published its Phase I reportopen_in_new examining whether APD’s body-worn and dashboard camera policies aligned with best practices, relevant laws, and the City of Austin’s policies, goals, and values. In the report, OPO identified several areas for improvement within APD’s current policies, including the need to:

  1. Consider the role of vendors and community input in the policymaking process;
  2. Revise the purpose statements for each policy to prioritize the use of body-worn and dashboard cameras to further citywide efforts to eliminate bias-based profiling and reduce the use of force;
  3. Revise the body-worn camera policy to align with state law, specifically House Bill 929 (The Botham Jean Act), and add definitions to address gaps in state law;
  4. Clearly define pertinent terms and requirements related to starting and stopping a recording;
  5. Require more documentation around recording, delayed recording, and failing to record;
  6. Revise certain policy titles to accurately reflect content;
  7. Require supervisor inspections of dashboard camera recordings; and
  8. Modify enforcement and discipline practices for violations of these policies.

In February 2022, OPO launched Phase II of the rewrite process with a community engagement campaign. Between February and April 2022, OPO gathered community feedback on APD’s body-worn and dashboard camera policies and OPO’s recommendations. The campaign resulted in four virtual events and 525 survey submissions.

In April 2022, OPO began Phase III of the rewrite process, compiling and analyzing the data collected in Phase II. During Phase III, OPO also OPO contacted police departments and/or civilian oversight offices in 15 cities across the country to learn more about their policy development processes. OPO concluded Phase III by incorporating community feedback and research findings into final policy recommendations.

Información de contacto

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

Información de contacto

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

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