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Audit of how Austin police handled sex assault cases will take years, leaders say

Austin City Council believes the review may not be complete until 2022.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin City Council announced on Monday that they expect the review of the Austin Police Department's protocols on handling sexual assault cases to take years. 

On Sept. 19, the City hired three out-of-state contractors to review the best practices for local agencies when it comes to handling sexual assault cases. 

According to the City of Austin, the city-led report could be finished by February 2022 at the earliest.

The council hopes to discover why a significant number of reported cases are not prosecuted. They will use these expert discoveries to see how they can better process them in the future.

This project comes as a result of a report released in 2018 by the Texas Department of Public Safety, that found multiple misclassifications in sexual assault cases by the Austin Police Department. 

RELATED: Texas DPS releases preliminary report from audit of Austin Police Department's sexual assault cases

The review will be conducted by a Police Executive Research Forum out of Washington, D.C., the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia and Wellesley Centers for Women in Massachusetts, the Statesman reported.

These groups were given ample time to complete the survey in order to conduct a thorough review, including looking into 50% of APD's sexual assault reports received in the last seven years, Commissioner Rebecca Bernhardt said at the Austin Public Safety Commission meeting on Monday. 

RELATED: Austin police provide safety tips after reports of phone theft at ACL Fest 2019

In addition to the cases, the contractors will review APD policies and procedures, as well as interview leadership, staff and survivors, using both focus groups and one-on-one interviews. 

WATCH: Lawsuit claims Austin police mishandled sex assault cases

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