Role of Vendors & Community Input in Policy Development: Methodology

In considering the role of vendors and community voices in the policymaking process, OPO collected qualitative data from Austin community members and a group of police departments and/or oversight offices across the country.

15-City Survey: Policymaking processes utilized by other U.S. police departments

During Phase III of this project, OPO contacted police departments and/or civilian oversight offices in 15 cities across the country to learn more about the processes they employ to draft police department policies. The cities examined included the following:

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Charlotte
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Memphis
  • New Orleans
  • Portland
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San José
  • Seattle

OPO reviewed the body-worn and dashboard camera policies from these cities during Phase I of this project while conducting research into best practices. Factors that OPO considered in selecting these cities included:

  • Region;
  • Comparable department size and/or budget to Austin; and
  • Recent evidence of a significant shift in policy, either voluntarily or as the result of a federal consent decree.
    • Baltimore, New Orleans, Portland, and Seattle are currently operating under federal consent decrees.[31]
    • San Diego[32] and San Francisco[33] have obtained voluntary assessments from the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ). San Francisco has since entered into an agreement with the California Department of Justice to implement changes aimed at the issues identified by the U.S. DOJ.[34] Many of the U.S. DOJ recommendations were related to policy issues.[35]

During Phase III of this project, OPO contacted these 15 cities through email, phone, and submissions to online contact forms housed on city websites.

OPO’s questions for these cities focused on 2 topics:


  • OPO asked whether the police departments contracted with vendors to write policies and the degree to which those vendor policies were edited or modified by the departments.

Community input

  • OPO asked for information about the role of community input in the initial drafting and/or modification of police department policies.

OPO received responses from 8 cities. For those 7 cities that did not respond, OPO endeavored to answer these questions by conducting further desk research. This desk research included searches on the cities’ finance office websites, police department websites, oversight office websites, and/or consent decree monitor websites. OPO also looked to policing organizations, like the Police Executive Research Forum, that had direct dealings with the police departments under review.

Analysis of Community Feedback

Between April and June 2022, OPO analyzed input gathered from the Austin community through surveys and community events. This input included the following:

  • 525 survey submissions
    • 443 digital submissions
    • 82 paper submissions
  • Responses to open-ended questions asked during 4 virtual events

This analysis produced the following two categories of information:

  • Quantitative data: Data that describes a quantity, amount, or range. An example of quantitative data would be age, age groups, or salary . Click hereopen_in_new for more information about OPO’s analysis of the categorical data.
  • Qualitative data: Data that describes qualities, characteristics, or beliefs. An example of qualitative data would be responses related to how the public feels about interactions with APD officers.

View sources hereopen_in_new.

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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