- Improve Austin PD's use of force policy (or in APD's Orwellian parlance, their "Response to Resistance" policy) by implementing recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum and prioritizing deescalation during critical situations. There are quite a few specific proposals under that heading.
- Create avenues for the public to have meaningful input in the meet and confer process, which in Austin governs not just pay and benefits but all aspects of police discipline.
- Stop arresting people for Class C misdemeanors for which the penalty is only a fine and incarceration-upon-arrest would be a greater punishment than the maximum sentence. (The Texas Legislature will almost certainly see similar, conservative-backed legislation on this front next year, in response to the Sandra Bland episode and other cases.)
- Stop using police as primary responders on mental health calls.
All of these are realistic, pragmatic, and achievable suggestions.
AJC is one of the constellation of local groups which have arisen in and around the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Both locally and nationally, the movement has spawned promising policy-focused efforts, like AJC's and Campaign Zero, which hone in on the specific reform questions arising from questionable police shootings and misconduct. Meanwhile, other BLM groups have adopted much more sweeping agendas, some of which stray from the core concerns drawing crowds in the past couple years.
While the broader agenda may be cathartic to articulate, the narrower, focused ones are more likely to be achieved. Campaign Zero was a major milestone for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and seeing local groups like AJC embrace and extend that work strikes Grits as particularly heartening. It has been a long time since this writer held out hope for real change at Austin's police department.