AUSTIN (KXAN) — When there is a critical incident involving an Austin police officer — like the officer-involved shooting early Sunday —the head of The Office of Police Oversight, Farah Muscadin responds to the scene.
Muscadin says her job is to make sure officers follow the rules when investigating their own in shootings and any critical incident.
“We are there primarily to review the scene, to make sure policies are being followed,” she told KXAN in an in-studio interview Monday morning. “It’s important we are there because we monitor the investigation.”
While the investigation occurs over time, Muscadin sees a concerning trend with officer-involved shootings from 2018.
“Last year, we had about 12 officer involved shootings. The average for 10 years has been about 6, so we did see an increase last year. I would say the trend I saw in the shootings is generally they involved a person of mental health crisis. I think that is a larger discussion that is a bigger role than my job as director of police oversight and the police department. I think it is a community issue that stakeholders need to get together to figure out how we can best serve that community,” Muscadin said.
Muscadin also discussed how the Office of Police Oversight is changing. She detailed how the office is making it easier for people to not only file complaints against the Austin Police Department, but how to compliment an officer.
With a single click at www.atxpoliceoversight.org, people can provide feedback good or bad to the department. Muscadin says when someone has a positive interaction, it’s just as important to get that information out to the officer.
“We want that officer to receive that recognition and the thanks that they received. We make sure that the officer receives it and their chain of command receives it,” she said.