AUSTIN — Austin officials are looking to reboot its police oversight agency following months of study by a community group at the request of the city council.
According to a memo from City Manager Spencer Cronk, the city's new Office of Police Oversight will build on the work of the police monitor's office, which has been in place for the past 15 years.
"As civilian oversight has evolved over time and expanded across the country, it should also do so here in the city of Austin," Cronk wrote in the memo. "We have always been a leader in this area by having the only police civilian oversight office in the state of Texas."
Under the city's plan, the new oversight agency would serve as "a robust policy arm," that would make recommendations to the city manager about police policies, conduct regular analysis on matters such as racial profiling and monitor internal affairs investigations.
The agency would also serve as a central point for citizens to make complaints against police, which the oversight agency would review before recommending a full investigation.
Cronk added that some of the proposals would require police officers to give up certain privacy rights to allow civilians access to information that is otherwise private under state law. That matter is part of an on-going contract negotiation between officers and the city.