In the first half of 2013, 674 people contacted the OPM with the intent of filing a complaint. As of this writing, it looks like calendar year 2013 will see more complaints than were received in 2012. If so, this will be the first time in three years, the OPM has seen an increase in the number of complaints.In the first half of 2013, the very first mediation session between members of the APD and a member of the public occurred at the Dispute Resolution Center.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Citizen complaints rising vs. Austin PD
According to the Austin Police Monitor's latest six-month update (pdf):
See also their most recent 2012 annual report (pdf), which is much more detailed.
As a practical matter, there are very few complaints filed against Austin PD officers by citizens because the system is utterly opaque and perceived to be rigged, with few officers ever disciplined and virtually no information coming back to complainants about how or why their accusations are (almost inevitably) dismissed without any consequences for the officers. When people ask me whether they should file complaints with APD over alleged misconduct, Grits routinely tells them they're wasting their time. If it's a really big deal, file a lawsuit; if not, go on about your life. APD's complaint process will bring you little but frustration and aggravation, accomplishing nothing.
By contrast, internal complaints by police officers against their peers are much less numerous but taken much more seriously by department brass and are more likely to ultimately result in discipline.
One good thing Police Monitor Margo Frasier has done is begin to publish police disciplinary records online. See here. In civil service cities like Austin, information about police discipline only becomes a public record if an officer is suspended for multiple days. In non-civil service departments - which include the overwhelming majority of Texas agencies - information about ALL complaints and disciplinary actions are public records, making those agencies much more accountable.
H/T: Austin Statesman.
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 1:10 PM