Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Mayor, Committee for People with Disabilities Host Town Hall on Policing

Town hall invites individuals living with disabilities to share experiences with APD  

Mayor Steve Adler and the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities are hosting a conversation to engage community members living with disabilities and learn about their experiences with law enforcement. Representatives from the Austin Police Department will join the Office of Police Oversight, the Civil Rights Office, and the Equity Office at the Town Hall on Public Safety: People with Disabilities and Policing on Saturday, June 25, 2022.  

"Part of our vision for reimagining police is to learn from direct experiences with officers so we can improve training and outcomes," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. "I encourage all people with disabilities and their advocates to participate in the town hall so we can continue to make APD a department that serves everyone." 

2020 American Community Survey Data shows that 8.6% of Austin residents live with a disability. The City of Austin's Office of Police Oversight, along with disability community groups, ArtSpark, U.R. Our Hope, SAFE Alliance, and Texas Parent to Parent, organized the event after community members with disabilities requested additional engagement on this issue. The goal of this event is to learn more about the experiences between community members living with disabilities and law enforcement in hopes of improving interactions between community members with disabilities and Austin police officers. 

"This town hall meeting is an opportunity to continue a critical dialogue to build positive relationships between our city's law enforcement and people with a range of disabilities in our community," said Michelle Schwartz, director of SAFE's Disability Services program. 

Community members living with disabilities have expressed how their unique life experiences impact their public safety. In May 2021, the Office of Police Oversight presented initial feedback from community members living with disabilities about their experiences with and concerns about law enforcement in Austin. In response, the Office of Police Oversight planned the June 25th town hall to continue the conversation with discussions centered around building a greater sense of empathy and understanding of individuals living with disabilities. 

"Our goal is to create an opportunity for APD to learn more about the lived experiences of people with disabilities," explained Mia Demers from the Office of Police Oversight.  

The event is open to the public and will be hosted in a hybrid format: Community members can attend the event in person at the Asian American Resource Center or via Zoom. 

Event Details 

  • Who: Mayor Steve Adler, the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, the Office of Police Oversight, the Civil Rights Office, and the Equity Office    

  • What: Town Hall on Public Safety: People with Disabilities and Policing    

  • When: June 25, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.   

  • Where: Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Rd, Austin, TX), or virtually on Zoom 

  • Learn more or RSVP at speakupaustin.org/opo-townhall  

  • Accommodations: American Sign Language, Spanish interpretation, and closed captioning services will be provided at the event, and additional language interpretations and accessibility accommodations can be made available upon request.     

 

 

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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. 


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