Austin police oversight examined

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the Austin Police Department continues to work without a contract, city council Tuesday will hear plans to rework the police oversight model that falls under the police monitor’s office.

In March, city council asked the city manager to put together a task force to examine the best way for this office to investigate complaints concerning the police department.

During the Tuesday presentation, the police monitor, who was officially hired to the role last week, will go over the different aspects this group will examine between now and October that can lead to a change in police oversight.

First, the group will look at other cities’ practices, including San Jose, San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Seattle.

Some of the ideas for oversight include full-time civilian investigators with specialized training. The thought is civilian-led investigations may increase community trust in the investigative process. Another is tracking whether the police department implements recommendations and determining whether those changes improve the department.  

Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder is on the group to write the analysis and believes the whole process is backwards because there needs to be a police contract first.

“Until you have a contract where you can sit down in a positive fashion, be honest about what you are trying to achieve, have guidelines as to here’s what we are going to do with the contract, until we have that, you can’t expect an office that is based on that to be functional,” Linder said.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told KXAN News Today last week he expects a police contract by November.

That’s also the same time frame city council wants a completed draft of the police oversight analysis.

Linder says oversight begins at the top of city leadership. “We need to realize the monitor’s office is only one component of that oversight. The real power lies with the city council, the DA’s office and the police chief.”

To view the initial plan, click here.

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