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Office of Police Oversight: 2019-2020 annual report

Office of Police Oversight presents the inaugural annual report about our work from January 2019 to December 2020.

Información de contacto

Office of Police Oversight

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

Introduction

Introduction 1 of 3

Mensaje de la Directora

Es mi privilegio presentar el primer informe anual de la Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO, por sus siglas en inglés).

Es mi privilegio presentar el primer informe anual de la Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO, por sus siglas en inglés). Desde el 15 de noviembre de 2018, cuando por ordenanza de la ciudad se estableció formalmente la OPO, hemos trabajado diligentemente para cumplir nuestra misión de proveer fiscalización imparcial, aumentar la transparencia y crear colaboraciones sostenibles con la comunidad. No puedo estar más satisfecha con el trabajo que ha realizado el personal de la OPO y agradecida por el apoyo continuo de la administración de la ciudad, el Concejo Municipal y nuestra comunidad.

La fiscalización civil es crucial para mantener un balance entre la necesidad de seguridad pública y los derechos de las personas que interaccionan con la policía. Durante los últimos dos años y medio, hemos construido tres divisiones alineadas con nuestra misión principal y propósito: quejas, participación comunitaria/comunicaciones y políticas/investigaciones. Hemos tomado un enfoque holístico hacia la fiscalización que da prioridad a la comunicación, a la colaboración y a un compromiso más sólido con la responsabilidad. Este nuevo enfoque refleja la cultura y creencias de nuestra comunidad diversa de Austin.

Hemos reconocido que la fiscalización civil no puede y no debe limitarse solo a las investigaciones de la conducta impropia de la policía. La fiscalización eficaz y las mejoras en la labor policial deberán venir acompañadas de datos, de investigaciones y de los aportes de la comunidad. Estas áreas son necesarias para el cambio positivo y sostenible que beneficie tanto a la comunidad como al departamento de policía. El lema de nuestra oficina es "¡La excelencia es la expectativa!" y nuestro compromiso con la excelencia continuará en nuestro trabajo.

Es para mí un honor servir como directora de la Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía, y me siento honrada por el compromiso de mi equipo con esta exigente labor, su tenacidad y pasión. Como equipo, este informe resalta nuestros logros.

Estoy muy orgullosa que la OPO sea un modelo nacional de fiscalización civil de la policía y prueba de que la fiscalización eficaz puede llevar a un cambio sistémico.

Farah C. Muscadin, JD

Directora de la Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía

Introduction 2 of 3

Resumen ejecutivo

La Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO, por sus siglas en inglés) fue establecida el 15 de noviembre de 2018.

La Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO, por sus siglas en inglés) fue establecida el 15 de noviembre de 2018. El propósito de este informe es documentar y compartir las actividades y logros de la OPO durante los años 2019 y 2020.

La misión de la OPO es supervisar de manera imparcial la conducta, prácticas y políticas del Departamento de Policía de Austin para mejorar la responsabilidad, informar al público para aumentar la transparencia y crear cooperaciones sostenibles en toda la comunidad.

Fiscalización imparcial para mejorar la responsabilidad

La OPO trabajó en la fiscalización imparcial de APD en aras de reforzar la rendición de cuentas al mejorar y crear nuevos estándares. Por ejemplo, nos aseguramos de que las quejas de la comunidad se procesaran rápidamente y que las investigaciones subsiguientes de APD fueran exhaustivas y justas. Además, en el 2019, la OPO lanzó un sitio web rediseñado para recibir quejas o agradecimientos en línea y publicar las quejas de los miembros de la comunidad.

En el 2020, la OPO también envió objeciones formales a APD. En una objeción, la OPO recalcó algunos problemas que surgieron durante una investigación sobre la conducta impropia de un oficial y recomendó áreas para mejorar. En otra objeción, la OPO cuestionó la decisión de APD de reducir las acciones disciplinarias por las violaciones a las políticas relacionadas con las cámaras corporales y las cámaras en los automóviles.

En el 2020, la OPO trabajó para mejorar la asunción de responsabilidad al participar en la creación de las políticas de APD relacionadas con los videos de incidentes críticos. APD hizo públicos para la comunidad tres videos de incidentes críticos, y la OPO ha participado en la creación y asesoría de la producción con APD.

Información al público para aumentar la transparencia

En los años 2019 y 2020, la OPO trabajó con la Oficina de Equidad y la Oficina de Innovación para publicar dos informes conjuntos que analizaron los datos de uso de perfiles raciales por APD. Estos informes sirvieron como base para medir la eficacia de los esfuerzos en toda la ciudad con miras a eliminar las disparidades raciales en las detenciones de tránsito. La OPO también publicó en el 2020 su primer informe de tiroteos con oficiales involucrados, en el que se analizaron todos los incidentes con oficiales de APD en el 2018.

En el 2020, la OPO colaboró con la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Texas en la elaboración de un curso para la Academia de Entrenamiento de APD sobre los antecedentes de los asuntos de raza y la labor policial, tanto a escala nacional como local. Este curso se impartirá ahora como parte del pensum de la Academia de Entrenamiento.

La OPO trabaja de cerca con la Comisión Comunitaria de Evaluación de la Policía (CPRC, por sus siglas en inglés) para aumentar la transparencia. El Administrador Municipal designó este grupo de voluntarios comunitarios quienes, entre otros asuntos, hacen recomendaciones de políticas relacionadas con APD y la OPO y revisan los incidentes críticos que el APD ha investigado.

Creación de colaboraciones sostenibles

En los años 2019 y 2020, la OPO continuó enfocándose en establecer y fomentar colaboraciones de una manera en la que se dé prioridad a la equidad, la empatía y la conexión directa. Por ejemplo, la OPO hizo cambios significativos a su sitio web, redes sociales y material escrito para que fueran más fáciles de acceder y abordar asuntos como el acceso lingüístico y digital. Estos cambios incluyeron la creación de una serie de videos llamada "Conozca sus derechos" en 7 idiomas, la realización de pruebas de usuario para la accesibilidad del sitio web de la OPO y la creación de un sitio web de la OPO que se pudiera acceder por teléfono móvil y en el que se pudieran realizar búsquedas.

La OPO también logró la participación de la comunidad a través de programas únicos. La OPO estableció un horario de atención a la comunidad en bibliotecas y centros recreativos en los 10 distritos del Concejo Municipal. Asimismo, la OPO comenzó a realizar dos veces al año un Desayuno con Líderes Comunitarios para invitar al público a aprender más sobre el trabajo de la OPO y conectar con los líderes de toda la comunidad.

La OPO está comprometida con el trabajo excelente y con mayor transparencia y responsabilidad. En los últimos dos años se ha demostrado que este trabajo continuará para exigir que la OPO se establezca y expanda, a la vez que mantiene una base sólida en la comunidad. La OPO continúa buscando y aprovechando oportunidades para mejorar y así cumplir con nuestra misión.

Introduction 3 of 3

Fiscalización imparcial para mejorar la responsabilidad

La Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO) provee fiscalización independiente e imparcial del Departamento de Policía de Austin (APD).

La Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO) provee fiscalización independiente e imparcial del Departamento de Policía de Austin (APD). La OPO y APD son departamentos separados dentro de la Ciudad de Austin. La OPO está compuesta de civiles con experiencia en fiscalización, materia jurídica, políticas y participación comunitaria. La función y responsabilidades de la OPO se detallan en:

  • Una ordenanza municipal
  • El acuerdo del 2018 entre la Ciudad de Austin y la Asociación de Policías de Austin
  • Un memorando del Administrador Municipal al Alcalde y al Concejo Municipal

Hay tres divisiones dentro de la OPO:

  • Quejas
  • Políticas e investigaciones
  • Comunicaciones

Complaints

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Complaints division

OPO's Complaints Division accepts complaints and thanks about police conduct.

Introduction

The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) provides independent, impartial oversight over the Austin Police Department (APD). OPO and APD are separate departments within the City of Austin. OPO is made up of civilians with oversight, legal, policy, and community engagement expertise. OPO’s role and responsibilities are outlined in:

There are three divisions within OPO:

  • Complaints
  • Policy & Research
  • Communications

Complaints Division

Flow chart of the steps of the OPO complaint process. From left to right: 1. Contact received. 2. OPO conducts preliminary review. 3. APD investigation monitored by OPO . 4. Director of OPO and APD review findings. 5. OPO notifies complainant of resolution.

OPO's Complaints Division accepts complaints and thank yous related to Austin Police Department (APD) officer conduct. Community members can submit complaints or thank yous based on their own or someone else's experience. Anyone may contact OPO via phone, email, fax, U.S. mail, or the online form.

Individuals may submit complaints or thank yous anonymously. Before the 2018 Meet and Confer Agreement between the City of Austin and the Austin Police Association, anyone wanting to file a complaint about an APD officer was required to submit a signed and notarized legal statement (affidavit) documenting their complaint. Feedback from the community indicated this requirement had a negative impact and provided an almost insurmountable barrier to people coming forward about their experiences.

As a result, community members and activists advocated for the ability to file anonymous complaints. For example, the new OPO complaint form was co-created with community members and listed contact information last to clarify that this information was not required. Accepting anonymous feedback increases accessibility for community members who would otherwise be unwilling or unable to share their experiences.

OPO independently reviews every contact submitted to the office. OPO does not investigate complaints. APD investigates community complaints that they deem warrant an investigation.

OPO conducts oversight of each complaint from when a contact is submitted, to when an investigation is finalized. Oversight of a complaint includes:

  • Conducting a preliminary review of the complaint
  • Monitoring any subsequent investigation by APD
  • Providing progress updates to the individual who submitted the complaint
  • Communicating the results of an investigation once APD has made a final determination

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How many times did community members contact the Office of Police Oversight?

Contacts between community members and OPO can originate online, in person, or by phone, email, or mail. Contacts may or may not result in a complaint.

Providing both a positive and negative feedback loop is essential to building trust between the community and APD. The number of contacts and thank yous the OPO received in 2019, and 2020 are illustrated in the chart below.

Chart 1: Breakdown of potential complaints and thank yous from 2019-2020. in 2019, there were 1,353 contacts and 158 thank yous. In 2020, there were 2,809 contacts and 177 complaints.

Note: The OPO saw a significant increase in the number of contacts in 2020 due to the protests against police brutality locally and nationally.

Chart 2: 2019 complaints by channel. 217 by online form, 1014 by phone, 13 by mail, 69 by email and fax, 40 in person. 104 were anonymous.

Chart 3: 2020 complaints by channel. 591 by online form, 1772 by phone, 11 by mail, 431 by email and fax, 4 in person. 104 were anonymous.

OPO staff reviews each complaint during the preliminary review and processes every contact in one of the following ways:

Not Applicable to OPO: OPO only handles complaints against Austin Police Department (APD) officers. Complaints that are not about APD officers do not apply to OPO.

Community Concern: Community concerns often lack the details needed for a formal complaint, such as time, date, and location. Community concerns can also be a more general concern about police behavior. OPO notifies APD of community concerns.

OPO Supervisor Referral: In some cases, the best resolution for a community member is to speak with an officer's supervisor. The APD supervisor will answer questions and address concerns from the community member. OPO notifies APD to contact the community member.

Formal Complaint: If OPO identifies potential policy violations during a preliminary review, OPO forwards the complaint to APD and recommends that APD investigate. APD determines whether an investigation will occur. OPO publishes redacted formal complaints on our website.

No Policy Violation: In some instances, OPO does not identify a potential policy violation. When no potential policy violation is identified, OPO notifies the community member, and the complaint is closed.

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How are complaints investigated?

The Austin Police Department (APD) investigates complaints. There are two different types of complaints, internal and external. Internal complaints are complaints that APD initiates; external complaints are complaints that APD receives from the Office of Police Oversight (OPO).

OPO conducts oversight of investigations into both internal and external complaints. Specifically, the OPO:

  • Reviews information gathered by APD
  • Attends interviews conducted by APD
  • Provides progress updates to the individual who submitted the complaint
  • Recommends potential policy violation(s) and classification
  • Communicate the outcome of an investigation once APD has made a final determination

APD is responsible for determining the classification of each investigation:

Class A complaints are the most serious allegations that APD investigates. These may result in discipline up to and including indefinite suspension.

Class B complaints are less serious allegations that APD investigates. These may result in discipline up to and including a 15-day suspension.

Class C complaints are allegations that do not qualify as Class A or Class B. APD generally does not investigate these complaints. Whether or not a Class C complaint is investigated, it is addressed through internal APD processes.

Class D complaints are allegations in which APD has determined there is no policy violation.

APD is responsible for determining the result of an investigation and making a disciplinary decision, OPO does not make any disciplinary decisions. The outcome of an investigation that APD has conducted are listed below:

  • Sustained: The investigation reveals that the incident occurred and violated policy
  • Exonerated: The investigation reveals that the incident occurred but did not violate policy
  • Unfounded: The investigation reveals that the incident did not happen
  • Inconclusive: There is not enough evidence to show whether the incident occurred
  • Administratively Closed: There were no allegations, or there was no misconduct, the case was classified as a Class C or Class D complaint, or at the discretion of the Chief or their designee
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OPO objection to changes to investigative process

OPO’s role in conducting oversight of investigations is not limited to individual complaints.

OPO also performs oversight of the investigative process as a whole and delivers objections and recommendations.

On March 13, 2020, OPO submitted an objection to the changes made by APD to General Order 902. General Order 902 specifically addresses administrative investigations. OPO objected to APD’s revisions because they undermine OPO’s ability to perform oversight and provide transparency to the public. Click hereopen_in_new for more information.

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How many complaints were investigated?

OPO does not investigate complaints. OPO forwards formal complaints to the Austin Police Department (APD) recommending investigation. APD investigates complaints that they deem warrant an investigation.

There are two different types of complaints, internal and external. Internal complaints are complaints that APD initiates; external complaints are complaints that APD receives from the Office of Police Oversight (OPO). OPO performs oversight of investigations into both internal and external complaints.

In 2019, APD investigated 62% of external formal complaints. In 2020, APD investigated 51% of external formal complaints.

2019

In 2019, OPO received 1,353 contacts about potential complaints. Of these, 53 were sent to APD as formal complaints for investigation. Formal complaints are complaints that OPO identifies as having potential policy violations. In 2019, APD investigated 33 of these 53 formal complaints. The remaining 20 complaints were not investigated. In 2019, the most common allegation was rude or unprofessional conduct. Of the 33 complaints that APD did investigate 28 resulted in a sustained policy violation.

Chart 4: Investigated complaints in 2019. In 2019, OPO received 1,353 contacts about potential complaints. Of these, 53 were sent to APD as formal complaints for investigation. In 2019, APD investigated 33 of these 53 formal complaints. The remaining 20 complaints were not investigated. Of the 33 complaints that APD did investigate 28 resulted in a sustained policy violation.

2020

In 2020, OPO received 2,809 contacts about potential complaints. Of these, 501 were sent to APD as formal complaints for investigation. Of the 501 formal complaints, 312 were about alleged officer conduct during the 2020 protests.

The remaining 189 that were sent to APD as formal complaints for investigation were not protest related. Of the 189, only 96 were investigated. There were 90 complaints APD did not investigate. There are 3 complaints still pending classification. The phrase “pending classification” means that APD has not yet determined whether it will investigate the complaint. In 2020, the most common allegation was rude or unprofessional conduct. Of the 96 complaints that APD did investigate 52 resulted in a sustained policy violation. Complaints stemming from the 2020 protests are not included.

Chart 5: Investigated complaints in 2020. In 2020, OPO received 2,809 contacts about potential complaints. Of these, 501 were sent to APD as formal complaints for investigation. Of the 501 formal complaints, 312 were about alleged officer conduct during the 2020 protests. The remaining 189 that were sent to APD as formal complaints for investigation were not protest related. Of the 189, only 96 were investigated. There were 90 complaints APD did not investigate. There are 3 complaints still pending classification.

Table 1: Breakdown of total contacts by the years 2019 and 2020. The table is further divided up by the total number of formal complaints, the number of formal complaints investigated, the number of formal complaints not investigated, the total number of formal complaints sustained, and the number of pending investigations.

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What types of discipline did APD officers receive?

Austin Police Department (APD) officers may receive discipline when an investigation reveals that they violated policy.

APD can issue discipline at any of the following levels:

  • Indefinite suspension: An officer's employment with APD is terminated
  • Temporary suspension: An officer is placed on leave for a specified number of days
  • Demotion: An officer’s rank is lowered
  • Written reprimand: An officer is disciplined in writing
  • Oral reprimand: An officer is disciplined orally
  • Education-based discipline: An officer is instructed to attend training as a part of the disciplinary action

OPO publishes all publicly releasable information related to APD discipline on our websiteopen_in_new.

Below are charts that describe the level of discipline APD issued in 2019 and 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of APD officers disciplined decreased by 21%.

Chart 6: Discipline administered by APD in 2019. In 2019, 200 individual Austin Police Department officers received discipline.

In 2019, 200 individual Austin Police Department officers received discipline. In some instances, an officer will be disciplined for more than one policy violation. During this period, officers were disciplined most often for violations of equipment policies, field operations and custody, response to resistance and pursuit, and field response and investigations and personnel policies.

Chart 7: Discipline administered by APD in 2020. In 2020, 159 individual Austin Police Department officers received discipline.

In 2020, 159 individual Austin Police Department officers received discipline. During this period, officers were most often disciplined for violating field operations and custody policies, equipment policies, personnel policies, response to resistance, pursuit policies, and field response, investigations, and reporting policies.

Retirements and Resignations Under Investigation

When an officer retires or resigns under investigation, it halts the investigation and discipline process.

  • In 2019, 2 officers retired or resigned under investigation
  • In 2020, 11 officers retired or resigned under investigation

To see more data on discipline, see this tableopen_in_new.

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OPO objections regarding discipline

OPO published two objections to APD in 2020.

General Orders objection: General Order 903

On April 8, 2020, OPO submitted an objection to March 16, 2020, changes made by APD to General Order 903. These changes reduced the discipline level for policy violations related to body-worn cameras and dash-camera systems. OPO objected to APD’s changes because they undermine the discipline process by downplaying significant policy violations. Click hereopen_in_new for the entire OPO objection.

Investigation and discipline objection: notice of formal recommendations related to complaint #2019-1402

In October 2020, OPO published an objection and recommendations related to the investigation and discipline decisions regarding a community complaint. Once the investigation into this complaint was complete, and discipline had been issued, OPO made specific recommendations to APD supervisors to ensure fairness and accountability. Further, in response to issues that arose during the investigation, OPO made specific recommendations for how APD investigators could improve their interactions with community members while investigating complaints. Click hereopen_in_new for the complete OPO objection.

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Why are some complaints not investigated?

In 2019, APD did not investigate 43% of external community formal complaints. In 2020, this number rose to 45%.

These complaints from the community were closed without investigation for one of the following reasons.

Administrative Closure

For some complaints, APD determined that there was no policy violation. These complaints were administratively closed without an investigation. OPO does not concur with APD closing community complaints without investigation.

Officer Final Classification Agreement (OFCA)

The OFCA is an administrative process that allows a complaint to be closed without investigation depending on an officer's history and the nature of the policy violation. With an OFCA, APD has determined, without an investigation, that an officer violated policy. OPO has raised concerns about the use of the OFCA to close complaints without investigation.

Supervisor Referral-Minor Policy Violation

For other complaints, APD determined that an officer violated policy, but the violation was minor. After making this determination, APD handled these complaints with a Supervisor Referral-Minor Policy Violation (SR-MPV). The SR-MPV process was established by APD leadership in 2020, creating another way for an allegation to be closed without investigation. OPO and APD are often in disagreement about when to use the SR-MPV as a means of resolving complaints. It is OPO’s position that complaints from community members should be investigated.

Policy

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División de Políticas e Investigaciones

La División de Políticas e Investigaciones realiza rigurosas investigaciones académicas, legales, cuantitativas y cualitativas con el fin de recomendar cambios a las políticas y capacitación dentro de APD, suministrar información clara y confiable sobre los datos de APD y otras áreas de interés público, y objetar las prácticas de APD que repercuten en la transparencia, la responsabilidad o la imparcialidad.

La División de Políticas e Investigaciones realiza rigurosas investigaciones académicas, legales, cuantitativas y cualitativas con el fin de:

  • Recomendar cambios a las políticas y capacitación dentro de APD.
  • Suministrar información clara y confiable sobre los datos de APD y otras áreas de interés público.
  • Objetar las prácticas de APD que repercuten en la transparencia, la responsabilidad o la imparcialidad.

La OPO es de la opinión que se crean políticas excelentes cuando se presta igual atención a la investigación, la formulación y la puesta en práctica. Además, la OPO trabaja para garantizar una línea de comunicación abierta entre los encargados de formular las políticas y las personas o grupos afectados.

La investigación y el análisis son esenciales para la misión de OPO de reforzar la responsabilidad y aumentar la transparencia. La División informa sobre los asuntos que más afectan las interacciones de los miembros de la comunidad con APD. En algunos casos, estos informes se basan en patrones o tendencias que la OPO ha observado durante el procesamiento y la supervisión de las quejas. En otros casos, estos informes se redactan en respuesta a órdenes determinadas del Concejo Municipal de Austin o de la Oficina del Administrador Municipal.

En el 2019 y el 2020, la OPO comenzó a compilar los informes de investigaciones recurrentes. La compilación incluye un informe donde se analizan los datos de uso de perfiles raciales por parte de APD y un informe por separado donde se examinan los incidentes de tiroteos que implican a oficiales de APD.

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Informe conjunto: Análisis de los datos de uso de perfiles raciales de APD

En enero de 2020, la Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO) publicó su primer informe que analiza los datos de uso de perfiles raciales de APD.

En enero de 2020, la Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO) publicó su primer informe que analiza los datos de uso de perfiles raciales de APD. La OPO se asoció con la Oficina de Innovación y la Oficina de Equidad de la Ciudad de Austin para analizar los datos desde el 2015 hasta el 2018. El objetivo era examinar cómo los grupos raciales y étnicos en Austin experimentan las detenciones de vehículos automotores en Austin. Los datos revelaron que la policía detiene de manera desproporcionada a las personas negras o afroamericanas y a los hispanos o latinx. Además, los datos sobre detenciones de vehículos de APD en el 2018 revelaron disparidades geográficas. Específicamente, los arrestos se concentraron más en el lado este de la ciudad. Además de resaltar las disparidades, este informe ofreció recomendaciones para abordar las áreas de preocupación. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para ver el informe completo. En junio de 2020, el Concejo Municipal de Austin pidió que este informe sirviera de base para medir el éxito de los esfuerzos en toda la ciudad para eliminar las disparidades raciales en las detenciones de vehículos automotores, arrestos y requisas. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para más información.

En febrero de 2020, la OPO, la Oficina de Innovación y la Oficina de Equidad realizaron un evento para escuchar y recopilar los comentarios de la comunidad sobre los hallazgos del informe de enero de 2020. En este evento se reunieron 56 miembros de la comunidad, 20 empleados de la Ciudad de Austin y 10 comandantes y personal ejecutivo de APD para analizar el informe. Los miembros de la comunidad compartieron sus vivencias con respecto a la labor policial en Austin, sus perspectivas sobre los datos e ideas para reforzar la responsabilidad. Se tomaron notas sobre la información suministrada durante el evento. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para ver esta información.

Entre febrero y abril de 2020, la OPO, la Oficina de Innovación y la Oficina de Equidad sintetizaron los comentarios de la comunidad que se dieron a conocer en el evento para extraer temas y ofrecer recomendaciones a partir de las nuevas percepciones. En abril de 2020, las tres oficinas hicieron llegar estos hallazgos y recomendaciones a la Oficina del Administrador Municipal. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para ver el informe completo y el memorando al Administrador Municipal.

En abril del 2020, la OPO, la Oficina de Innovación y la Oficina de Equidad también publicaron un suplemento con un análisis adicional de las razones para las detenciones de vehículos automotores en el 2018. El análisis reveló que la mayoría de tales detenciones de vehículos automotores en el 2018 se debieron a infracciones de tránsito en movimiento. El menor número de detenciones se debió a conocimiento previo, como órdenes judiciales. Es de hacer notar que las personas negras/afroamericanas e hispanas/latinx siguieron representadas de manera desproporcionada en todas las categorías.

En noviembre del 2020, la OPO, la Oficina de Innovación y la Oficina de Equidad publicaron un segundo informe conjunto que analizaba los datos de uso de perfiles raciales de APD. En este informe se examinaron los datos del 2015 al 2019 y reveló que la disparidad racial persistía y, en muchos casos, empeoraba. Además, al igual que en el 2018, los datos de APD correspondientes al 2019 revelaron desigualdades geográficas. Específicamente, las advertencias y observaciones de campo se concentraron más en el lado oeste de la ciudad, mientras que los arrestos se concentraron más en el lado este de la ciudad. El análisis fue acompañado de recomendaciones para abordar las tendencias preocupantes y mejorar la recolección de datos y la divulgación. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para ver el informe completo. Al igual que el informe de enero del 2020, este informe servirá como base para medir el éxito de los esfuerzos en toda la ciudad con miras a eliminar las disparidades raciales en las detenciones de vehículos automotores. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para más información.

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Informes de tiroteos que implican a un oficial

En junio del 2020, la OPO publicó su primer informe de tiroteos que implican a un oficial.

En junio del 2020, la OPO publicó su primer informe de tiroteos que implican a un oficial. Este informe examinó cada incidente de tiroteo ocurrido en el 2018 en el que estuvieran involucrados un oficial y APD. El propósito del informe era analizar los datos y patrones relacionados con estos eventos y recomendar mejoras. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para ver el informe completo.

El análisis de la OPO reveló que todos, menos 1 incidente, tuvieron un componente de salud mental. Además, el análisis reveló una concentración desigual de incidentes de tiroteos que implican a un oficial, en los que se vieron afectadas minorías étnicas y áreas históricamente de minorías en Austin. Por ejemplo, de los 12 incidentes que ocurrieron en el 2018, 8 estaban vinculados con minorías. Además, en los 5 incidentes fatales causados por la policía estaban involucradas minorías en el centro, este o sureste de Austin.

Recomendaciones de educación y capacitación: La historia de la policía y la raza en Estados Unidos

En marzo del 2020, la OPO recomendó que el Departamento de Policía de Austin (APD) añadiera un curso a la Academia de Entrenamiento sobre las relaciones raciales y la labor policial en Estados Unidos y Austin. El curso, titulado La historia de la policía y la raza en Estados Unidos, fue creado en sociedad con la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Texas. La meta es ofrecer un contexto histórico para las interacciones entre los oficiales de APD y las comunidades a las que sirven. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para leer las recomendaciones de la OPO y el contenido programático del curso.

Policy 4 of 6

Education and training recommendation: The History of Police & Race in America

In March 2020, OPO recommended that the Austin Police Department (APD) add a course to the Training Academy about race relations and policing in the United States and Austin.

The course, titled The History of Police & Race in America, was developed in partnership with the University of Texas School of Law. The goal of the course is to provide historical context to interactions between APD officers and the communities they serve. Click hereopen_in_new to read OPO’s recommendation and the course curriculum.

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Recomendaciones de políticas: Orden General 301.2 y Orden General 900.3.4(c) del Departamento de Policía de Austin

Las quejas por comportamiento grosero son las que más recibe la OPO. En septiembre del 2020, la OPO recomendó actualizar dos políticas relacionadas con estas quejas comunes.

Las quejas por comportamiento grosero son las que más recibe la OPO. En septiembre del 2020, la OPO recomendó actualizar dos políticas relacionadas con estas quejas comunes. La OPO creó estas recomendaciones después de investigar varias políticas comparables de departamentos de policía. La investigación mostró que las políticas de APD no eran claras y no abordaban de manera adecuada las situaciones de la vida real. Las recomendaciones de la OPO incluían actualizar el lenguaje para refinar la Orden General 301.2 Actitud imparcial y cortesía, la Orden General 900.3.4(c) Conducta personal y la correspondiente Matriz de Disciplina asociada a estas políticas. Estos cambios alinearían al Departamento de Policía de Austin con las mejores prácticas nacionales, mantendrían estándares policiales equitativos y establecerían las responsabilidades para los oficiales. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para leer las recomendaciones de la OPO.

El 22 de octubre del 2020, APD adoptó algunas de las recomendaciones de la OPO, pero no tomó las medidas necesarias para garantizar que estos cambios fueron efectivos. Específicamente, la OPO recomendó medidas disciplinarias firmes para demostrar la gravedad de los oficiales que son groseros, poco profesionales o injustos durante las interacciones entre ellos y con los miembros de la comunidad. APD decidió no adoptar estas recomendaciones disciplinarias, lo que socava las recomendaciones de políticas que sí adoptó.

En noviembre de 2020, la OPO objetó los cambios que APD hizo a la Orden General 301.2 Actitud imparcial y cortesía y a la Orden General 900.3.4(c) Conducta personal. Además, la OPO recomendó que APD incorporara completamente las recomendaciones que le hiciera llegar en septiembre de 2020. Hacerlo demostraría tanto a los oficiales como a la comunidad que APD toma este tipo de alegaciones con seriedad. Incorporar las recomendaciones de la OPO también demostraría el deseo de APD de reimaginar sus políticas y alinearlas con las mejores prácticas. Haga clic aquíopen_in_new para leer la objeción de la OPO.

Policy 6 of 6

¿Cuál función tiene la OPO en Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública?

Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública es el enfoque polifacético de la Ciudad de Austin para mejorar todos los aspectos de seguridad pública en Austin.

Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública es el enfoque polifacético de la Ciudad de Austin para mejorar todos los aspectos de seguridad pública en Austin. A través de Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública, la Ciudad de Austin aborda asuntos tales como la asignación de presupuesto, las disparidades raciales en la labor policial, las políticas concernientes al uso de fuerza y las respuestas de salud mental.

A la OPO se le asignó un papel importante en la iniciativa Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública. En junio de 2020, a la OPO se le pidió que realizara tareas específicas de investigación relacionadas con Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública cuando el Concejo Municipal de Austin aprobó las siguientes tres resoluciones:

  • Resolución 20200611-50 (Resolución 50)
  • Resolución 20200611-95 (Resolución 95)
  • Resolución 20200611-96 (Resolución 96)

En el 2021, la OPO comenzó a trabajar en los análisis, recomendaciones y esfuerzos de participación comunitaria asociados con la iniciativa Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública. El extenso trabajo de la OPO con Reimaginando la Seguridad Pública se incluirá en el informe anual del 2021.

Communications

Communications 1 of 7

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
Communications 2 of 7

Building community partnerships

According to OPO survey results and conversations with the community, the fear of retaliation is a significant barrier to filing reports with our office.

We recognize that fear and mistrust in policing and City government is a reality for some in our community. Our goal is to develop strategies to make our processes more accessible so that challenges and concerns can be properly addressed.

Building sustainable partnerships is at the forefront of our goal to earn community trust. OPO works to utilize focused outreach in a manner that is equity-minded, empathetic, and prioritizes direct connection with the community.

Photos of people at OPO community engagement events in 2019 and 2020.

Equityspace Summit

On September 19, 2019, the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) contributed to the first-ever EquitySpace Summit. The event was a solution-focused conference about racial equity. It was designed to advance the national dialogue and inspire action.

OPO staff presented the session, “Engaging a Community in Fear: The Role of Community Engagement in Police Oversight.” The session focused on two key messages:

  • The importance of generational and historical context to community fear of law enforcement; and
  • How focused outreach can bridge the gap between communities and institutions.

Community Leaders

In February 2019 and November 2019, OPO hosted Community Leaders Breakfasts. At these events, OPO invited community members to learn more about OPO's work and connect with leaders throughout the community. Guests at these events included faith-based leaders, community organizers, nonprofit leaders, and educators.

Each Community Leaders Breakfast also provided a forum for community members to ask questions about policing and oversight. In addition, OPO used community members’ February 2019 feedback to develop OPO's mission statement. Click hereopen_in_new to read OPO’s mission statement.

Community office hours

OPO approaches community engagement intending to meet people where they are. In 2019, OPO followed this approach by hosting community office hours in neighborhood libraries and recreational centers. These office hours enabled OPO to connect with communities across 19 different locations in all 10 City Council districts. OPO outreach focuses on historically underserved communities and those experiencing barriers to access. In this photo, two OPO staff members sit at a table, ready to answer questions from shoppers at the H Mart food court in North Austin.

Two OPO staff members sit at a table, ready to answer questions from shoppers at the H Mart food court in North Austin.

Communications 3 of 7

Know Your Rights video series

OPO created a video series to educate the community on their rights when interacting with law enforcement.

OPO created the “Know Your Rights” initiative to educate the community on their rights when interacting with law enforcementopen_in_new. This initiative includes a series of videos and presentations on two topics:

  • Know Your Rights: The Right to Remain Silent
  • Know Your Rights: For Immigrants

Because language access is a top priority for OPO's education efforts, OPO, with the help of community volunteers, translated the videos into 7 languages.

Click hereopen_in_new to view the videos.

Communications 4 of 7

Feedback reports from community events

On February 22, 2020, the Office of Police Oversight (OPO), the Equity Office, and the Office of Innovation hosted an event to listen to and gather community feedback about the findings of the January 2020 report.

At this event, 56 community members, 20 City of Austin employees, and 10 Austin Police Department (APD) officers met to discuss the report. Community members shared their lived experiences of policing in Austin, perspectives on the data, and ideas to enhance accountability. Notetakers collected the information shared during the event. View a spreadsheet with this informationopen_in_new.

Afterward, OPO, the Office of Innovation, and the Equity Office synthesized the information and provided it to the City Manager’s Office. View the full report and memorandum to the City Manageropen_in_new.

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Critical incident briefing videos

On June 1, 2020, APD added a policy regarding the public release of critical incident videos involving police officers.

The OPO was influential in developing this policy and meeting with the community to get input and feedback.

Critical incidents are defined as:

  • Officer-involved shootings, including unintentional discharge, while in the course of duty or response to a call, regardless of whether a person was hit by gunfire and even if no allegation of misconduct is made.
  • A use of force resulting in death or serious bodily injury as defined by Section 1.07, Texas Penal Code
  • All deaths while an arrestee/detainee is in the custodial care of the Department
  • Any other police encounter where the Chief of Police determines the release of video furthers a law enforcement purpose.

The policy says that APD will publish video footage of police-related critical incidents to inform the community in a timely fashion. The policy also states that APD will consult and seek feedback from OPO during the production of the video for public release.

At the time of publication, APD has released three critical incident videos to the public, with OPO conducting oversight of the process. Click hereopen_in_new to view these videos.

Communications 6 of 7

OPO community engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic led the City of Austin to take precautions to protect health and safety.

As a result, in-person community engagement events were discontinued. However, OPO was committed to sharing our work and continued to communicate with the community through our newsletters and social media. OPO newsletters include:

  • Office updates
  • Upcoming events
  • Community resources
  • Links to our reports

Since August 2019, OPO has sent out 12 newsletters and grown our audience by 341 subscribers.

Sign up to receive OPO’s newsletter.open_in_new

Communications 7 of 7

Community Police Review Commission

On September 10, 2020, the City of Austin announced the first members of the newly formed Community Police Review Commission (CPRC).

On September 10, 2020, the City of Austin announced the first members of the newly formed Community Police Review Commission (CPRC).

The CPRC is a group of volunteers appointed by the City Manager as another tool for accountability and transparency in policing. Commissioners can:

  • Make policy-level recommendations regarding discipline, training, community relations, and the Office of Police Oversight's (OPO) complaint process
  • Address any other issues of concern by the community
  • Review patterns and practices of the Austin Police Department (APD)
  • Assess critical incidents and review individual cases of police misconduct
  • Make fair and objective recommendations, and make decisions based only on the facts and evidence
  • Assess the effectiveness of OPO

Since October 2020, Commissioners have held virtual meetings open to the community on the first Monday of every month. During their meetings, they have received presentations from OPO, the Community Video Review Panel (a group of community members chosen to review APD training videos), the Equity Office, and community organizations.

The CPRC developed a mission statement to listen to and promote the community's voice in policing and public safety in Austin. The CPRC encourages conduct, practices, and policies that support dignity and equity.

As part of its role, the CPRC has also identified various areas of policing to research and provide recommendations for improvement. All formal letters of recommendation, meeting recordings and agendas, and presentations can be found on the Commission's website click hereopen_in_new.

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