AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN has learned the Austin Police Monitor Margo Frasier is getting ready to release her annual report into the Austin Police Department’s use of force, traffic stops and searches.
Analysts at the Police Monitor’s office are looking over the department’s most recent data from 2014 and will identify any trends. The police monitor’s job is to police the police and Frasier says these audits are needed to understand if there are any inconsistencies in how the department handles traffic stops and if there are any issues with racial profiling.
Frasier is expected to release her report as early as Monday, March 7. Once released to the public, the report will be examined by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.
Last fall, a KXAN Investigation uncovered APD recording the wrong race of minority drivers as white and evidence showing the department was aware of the problem with how it collects data prior to us bringing it to their attention.
In an email obtained by KXAN News, in July, an APD traffic analyst wrote to the department’s Research and Planning Manager with concerns about their racial profiling records. The email reads in part: “Our data is so poor that we risk opening ourselves up for scrutiny on our methodology.” The analyst goes on to point out they are not reporting all motor vehicle stops, “The law calls for data to be collected from all “Motor Vehicle Stops. We do not track motor vehicle stops.”
In response to our initial investigation, Acevedo ordered an independent review of APD’s data collection. The chief hired Doctor Alex del Carmen, the state’s leading expert on the racial profiling law, to audit his department and figure out what it must do to comply with the law.