Goal

To eliminate racial bias, bigotry, and discrimination in Austin Police Department (APD) policies, practices and behaviors and determine how they influence decisions related to hiring, promotion, treatment of employees, and interactions with people of color and other marginalized groups.    

This reform is defined by City Council Resolution 20191205-066.

Direction

The City Manager will conduct a thorough analysis and investigations into allegations made by a former assistant chief and investigate other charges of bias and discrimination within the department.

  

Deliverables and Outcomes

An action plan with benchmarks and timelines on reducing racial disparities in interactions with communities of color and other marginalized groups. Also, the City Manager shall oversee the solicitation for independent third parties to evaluate and investigate incidents of police misconduct and bias and other illegal behavior, as well as create an independent evaluation entity to grade the work. Also, develop a plan for continuing education for officers and management training for supervisors on eliminating racial bias. And conduct an audit of recruitment and training policies, procedures, protocols and materials for cadets and officers. Also, develop a system for regular reporting of progress to the City Council, the Public Safety Commission, and the public. 

 

Status

Complete Actions

These elements of the reform resolution are considered complete, as of May 12, 2021.

  1. Conduct investigation into the allegation of racist remarks
  2. Delay cadet classes until audit revisions implemented
  3. Address policies related to property/equipment management
  4. Improve personnel management
  5. Conduct investigation and evaluation into institutional racism
  6. APD training audit reporting milestone
  7. Make semi-annual update reports on the independent investigation
  8. Conduct APD training audit
  9. Implement Tatum report recommendations

 

Pending Actions

These elements of the reform resolutions are pending, as of May 12, 2021. The reasons they are pending range from needed work with other divisions, need for legal review or policy development, need for community input and need for input from the City Council, the Council Public Safety Committee or the Public Safety Commission.

  1. Improve file/record management and retention
  2. Improve personnel training
  3. Consider review of 180-day rule and applicability to executive officers

 

Timeline

June 2021

144th Reimagined Cadet Class Now Underway

  • One hundred recruits started their journey toward becoming police officers on Monday June 7th as the Austin Police Department kicked off its 144th cadet class. To learn more, please read the full press release on the RPS blog.

May 2021

  • On May 6 the Austin City Council approved moving forward with a reimagined Austin Police Department (APD) training academy. The 144th cadet class will be a pilot class, the first to complete training with the Academy’s new curriculum and expanded community engagement programming. The class will begin in June. Read more in English or in Spanish.

  • The City Manager delivered a final report detailing an in-depth assessment of the APD Training Academy to City Council. The report, authored by independent consultant Kroll and Associates, is expansion of a preliminary analysis released in March 2021. Findings and recommendations were presented at the May 4, 2021 City Council work session. Read the report. Watch the Kroll presentation summarizing the findings.  Watch APD's presentation on progress toward the pilot class of a reimagined cadet academy.

April 2021

  • On April 23, 2021 the Austin Police Department and the Office of Police Oversight (OPO), outlined a renewed commitment to improve the working relationship between the two departments and the steps each will take to facilitate a comprehensive and impartial review of complaints and policy recommendations. Read more.

March 2021

  • The Austin City Council approved City Manager Spencer Cronk's blueprint for a reimagined Austin Police Department (APD) cadet academy during its March 25, 2021 meeting.  The pathway to a new reimagined academy will consist of three parts: Increased community involvement, establishing a culture of adult learning, and transformative change.  If the blueprint is approved by council and the academy can be conducted in accord with all the objectives outlined in the plan along with additional progress reporting, community input, independent evaluation, and budget criteria directed by Council, the first class of the reimagined APD cadet academy could commence on June 7, 2021. Read More.                                                                                         
  • On March 23, 2021, the Office of Police Oversight hosted a virtual conversation to share the preliminary findings of independent consultants Kroll & Associates' assessment of the Austin Police Department’s training academy. Over 40 community members representing many local organizations attended, and session was extended to include everyone's questions. Click here to watch a recording of the meeting. To read more, click here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • City Manager Spencer Cronk announced the search for a new Chief to lead the Austin Police Department on March 22, 2021. The search and hiring process will involve extensive engagement with the community. The City Manager's timeline sets a target for completing the process and announcing a finalist by August. Read more.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Kroll and Associates,  provided an initial assessment of the APD Training Academy on March 2, 2021.The preliminary report covers the APD Training Academy's ability to prepare cadets for policing in a multi-ethnic, diverse, urban population, consistent with best practices. Read more about the findings and next steps.                                                                                                       
  • On March 1, 2021, the Austin Police Department published its 2020 racial profiling report which analyzes demographic data relating to motor vehicle stops. Read the report.

January 2021

  • A community panel assembled by the Equity Office released recommendations following a comprehensive review of selected APD training academy videos. A summary of the recommendations is outlined in the Video Review Panel Facilitator Final Report as well as the APD Training Videos Community Review Report drafted by the community representatives serving on the panel. APD has accepted all the panel’s recommendations concerning video content and is actively making changes.

Equity Office Reports Analyzing Racial Inequities within APD Released

  • In December 2020, the Equity Office released the findings of two bodies of work documenting racial inequities within APD. The first body of work contains a series of evaluations of seven division-level equity assessment responses and the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) identified by a third-party evaluator, The Peace Mill Research and Communications. The second body of work is a report prepared by Joyce James Consulting to identify racial inequities within APD and develop strategies to eliminate them. Key components of their scope of work include a documentation review; survey of the APD climate and culture; facilitation of the Groundwater Analysis® training and debrief for APD leadership; and collaboration with APD and the Equity Office to develop strategies and objectives based on the findings. The Equity Office is following up with APD to discuss the next steps of this equity including developing a plan to address the findings and recommendations.

November 2020

  • On November 12, Austin City Council approved staff’s recommendation to negotiate and execute a contract with Kroll Associates, Inc. The contractor will provide an assessment of the Austin Police Department training academy and conduct analysis of recruitment and promotions, use of force incidents, and public interactions with officers. A kick-off meeting with Kroll Associates, Inc. was held November 19. Farah Muscadin, Office of Police Oversight Director, will serve as the city’s project manager.

October 2020

  • An independent consultant, working in collaboration with the Equity Office, released a core report outlining research and recommendations to address strategies to end racial inequities within APD. Following the report, APD held what is referred to as “groundwater analysis” meetings and a feedback session with the consultant. One of the chief goals of the meetings was to provide well-meaning systems leaders and community partners with a new lens for understanding institutionalized racism at the “groundwater” level. An implementation strategy session is being planned for a future date.                                                                                                                      
  • The video review component of the APD training audit began in May. A community panel is reviewing selected police academy course videos. The training video reviews have been extended to November.

 

September 2020

APD is implementing immediate and long-term procedures and practices to address problems outlined in the findings of the investigation into allegations of racist remarks. Activities to date include:

  • Improving personnel management and training with the implementation of a Servant Leadership Program and groundwork to develop a program that will address leadership, mentorship and succession planning
  • Updating policies regarding the use of City issued cell phones, computers and other communications devices

OPO, in collaboration with the City Manager’s office, developed a scope of work to identify an independent consultant to conduct an audit of APD training through the request for proposal (RFP) process. OPO anticipates presenting a finalist for Council consideration in November. Once a consultant is approved, the final audit report with recommendations is expected to be delivered in December 2021.

The video review component of the APD training audit began in May.  A community panel is reviewing selected police academy course videos. Life Anew, Restorative Justice- an outside facilitator hired by the City- is leading panel discussions within a framework that fosters constructive and meaningful dialogue, while providing a co-creative space for community panel members and City staff to develop recommendations for improvements. The facilitator will develop a final report outlining the panel’s recommendations and feedback gathered via video survey data. This information will be shared with APD for review and a response.

April 2020

December 2019