Police shouldn’t police themselves. Tell City Council to make the Austin Police Oversight Act the law NOW, before another police contract locks us into the same old mistakes.
On September 15th, Austin City Council will vote to either put a reliable and permanent system of civilian oversight system into the code (Item 86 YES) — make it law now — or put it on a ballot next May (Item 87 NO). Here’s a quick “explainer” about the ballot measure.
We need this to be the law now, because a new police contract without these provisions will be signed before March 31st. An ordinance passed next May (no matter how popular with the voters) could wait four more years to be implemented.
A third and related item on the agenda (Item 91 by Adler, Vela, Alter and Renteria NO) appears to require the City Manager to “ensure” the police get all their pay and benefits through the end of May, including termination pay amounts, if Council places the APOA on a May ballot. The CM cannot “ensure” any such thing without closing the deal on a brand new contract (no requirement that it comply with the APOA) before the voters vote. This item should get a resounding NO from everyone who wants better policing now!
Pick up the phone and CALL YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER! YES on Item 86, NO on Items 87 and 91! Phone calls have the greatest impact, and after your call you can double that impact by sending a followup message to the whole Council using this form!
Mayor Steve Adler: 512-978-2100
District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison: 512-978-2101
District 2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes: 512-978-2102
District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria: 512-978-2103
District 4 Council Member Chito Vela: 512-978-2104
District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen: 512-978-2105
District 6 Council Member Mackzenie Kelly: 512-978-2106
District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool: 512-978-2107
District 8 Council Member Paige Ellis: 512-978-2108
District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo: 512-978-2109
District 10 Council Member Alison Alter: 512-978-2110
Austinites deserve strong external oversight to ensure police accountability. But every few years the City renegotiates police oversight through the contract with the police association, rigging our police oversight system to fail.
If officers knew that brutality and misconduct would be disciplined, they would do it less. But that’s not how the system works today.
The Austin Police Oversight Act would ensure that allegations into police brutality and misconduct are taken seriously and investigated appropriately, keeping all of us safer. How?
- The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) will have clear authority to participate in investigations, conduct random audits of body camera video, analyze data and report to Council;
- The Community Police Review Commission will have clear authority to provide a second level of review of investigations into serious misconduct;
- Allegations of misconduct must be addressed within a year of the time the allegation is made, extending what is now a short 180 day deadline;
- No super-secret file of police conduct can be maintained and instead personnel records at the Austin Police Department will be handled as such records are handled by most police agencies, including the Travis County sheriff, and in accordance with Govt. Code Ch. 552, the Public Information Act;
- The City Manager is prohibited from bringing to Council a police contract that contravenes the Austin Police Oversight Act.