Austin city manager suspends Citizen Review Panel

Austin police helicopter video showed Police Officer Brian Richter and Detective Steven McCurley during a use of force incident on July 26, 201_620317

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Now that the Austin Police Department is operating under a civil service law due to the lack of an agreed-upon contract, Austin’s city manager has no choice but to suspend the Citizens Review Panel (CRP).

According to a memo from Interim City Manager Elaine Hart, without a meet and confer agreement between the city and the Austin Police Association, the CRP can’t have access to confidential materials needed to make informed decisions regarding allegations of police officer misconduct.

Members of the CRP, who are volunteers, originally had access to the files as part of the meet and confer agreements. Without access to those files, Hart writes the “CRP simply cannot fulfill these responsibilities.”

Hart goes on to say to provide “any effective measure of public oversight for ongoing investigations of potential police misconduct,” a new contract must be agreed upon.

The lack of new contract wasn’t for the lack of trying. The Austin Police Association and the city spent months at the negotiating table but the Austin City Council decided to reject the proposed contract in December, citing fiscal issues and concerns about accountability and transparency.

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