Tuesday, April 27, 2021

City Seeks Community Feedback on Austin Police Department Use of Force Policies

  City Seeks Community Feedback on Austin Police Department Use of Force Policies
Office of Police Oversight hosts community conversations on Austin Police Department use of force policies

The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) has developed a survey and will host a series of events to collect feedback from the community on recommendations to update Austin Police Department (APD) policies related to the use of force.  

The virtual community meetings are taking place in April and May: Reimagining Our Community Safety Policies Sessions 

To RSVP for any of the following events, click here. 

  • April 28 

  • May 12  

  • May 19  

  • May 26  

All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. The survey is available on the City's SpeakUp Austin feedback portal in English and Spanish until May 31, 2021. More information about the survey and the virtual community listening sessions is available in the How to Get Involved in Police Oversight section of the OPO website.  

In January 2021, OPO published a report outlining the results of its review of APD policies, research of use of force best practices around the nation, and a series of APD policy change recommendations. OPO's analysis of APD policies revealed that there are many areas to improve safety for both Austin police officers and community members. 

OPO is now requesting community input on the proposed recommendations to improve those areas. 

"The survey and community meetings are an opportunity to include the voices of those most frequently and directly impacted by police policies and practices in this process," said Farah Muscadin, Director of the Office of Police Oversight." We want to hear their experiences and ideas as we work with APD to revise policies so they reflect our collective values and needs."  

OPO's report and feedback gathering are part of a City Council and City Manager directed process to review, research, and recommend Use of Force policy changes to be incorporated into a rewrite of APD General Orders. The rewrite will cover additional policy areas including: search and seizure, body-worn cameras, dash cameras, mental health response, discipline, bias, language, and courtesy.  

After all the feedback is submitted, OPO will create a report and submit it to the City Manager, City Council, and the Austin Police Department. 

Spanish and American Sign Language interpretation services will be available at the events. Additional interpretation services and accommodations may be available upon request. To request these services, please email opo.outreach@austintexas.gov


About the Office of Police Oversight  

The mission of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department's conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community. Learn more at atxpoliceoversight.org.