municipal Council voted unanimously at its July 28 meeting for a $350,000 contract extension with Kroll Associateswhich will allow the law enforcement consulting firm to work on the third phase of its full review of the Austin Police Department. “Phase C” of the review will focus on how APD complies with federal and state law and the department’s “complaint and grievance procedures regarding allegations of racial and sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace. work”. It will also assess how department leadership has handled prior incident investigation reports regarding allegations of workplace discrimination.
Issues with how the APD handles internal complaints about workplace culture – in particular, how the former chief Brian Manley and those around him mishandled allegations and evidence of ongoing racism from one of their own, the former deputy chief Justin Newsom – prompted the December 2019 resolution of the Council member Natasha Harper Madison who requested the work that Kroll did. As stated in an earlier investigation into the case by a lawyer Lisa TatumManley waited nearly a week after learning of the allegations against Newsom to launch an internal investigation, during which Newsom retired and banked hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused vacation – which he didn’t. could not have done during the investigation.
Kroll expects Phase C of his review to take about six months after he receives the information he needs from the ODA (it’s unclear how long that might take). In addition to workplace culture, the review will focus on incidents of misconduct over the past decade that resulted in lawsuits. “The final report will identify any patterns or trends that suggest disparate results based on ethnicity or race and opportunities for better management of agency risk,” a July 26 staff memo reads about the report. ‘exam. It will also include interviews with ODA staff to get a better sense of what the environment is “as it relates to issues of race and gender” and how it affects women, people of color and LGBTQIA people within the department.
The review will produce further recommendations for implementation by the DPA. These will include ongoing training for all active ODA staff. as part of the required biennial recertification as peace officers, which covers implicit bias, de-escalation, and the history of policing and its intersections with race and identity in America. Phase C recommendations will also include some kind of “trustworthy leadership training” and advice on how to establish a “clear qualification[s]” for the positions of deputy head.
Mayor Steve Adler made an amendment to the extension of the contract, also approved unanimously. It requires staff to seek bids for a new third-party review of the ongoing effort to revise the curriculum at Austin Police Academy “in connection with any requests to accelerate or increase cadet classes” in the fiscal year 2023 budget, for approval beginning Aug. 17.
Kroll’s review will also include a Phase D, which will examine various communications used by ODA personnel – a long-standing focus of local justice advocates. This includes public social media posts (including those made under pseudonyms or anonymously), emails and text messages on City devices over the past five years.