Learn about the Office of Police Oversight and how your concerns and complaints about potential police misconduct are heard, investigated, and resolved.
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- 2021 Annual Report
- How We Store and Use Your Data
- Complaint Process
- Know Your Rights When Interacting With the Police
- Police Oversight Reports and Recommendations
What We Do
When people have concerns or complaints about potential police misconduct, those concerns need to be heard, investigated, and resolved. At Austin’s Office of Police Oversight (OPO), everything we do is to promote an atmosphere of earned trust between Austinites and the Austin Police Department (APD). We do this by making it easy, accessible, and safe for Austinites to provide information and start the process. For example, we make sure that:
- There are several reporting options available (email, an online form, telephone, etc.).
- The process is not overwhelming or complex.
- People understand that they can choose to remain anonymous.
- There is follow-through and transparency on the investigation’s status and eventual outcome.
- The community understands what we do, how we do it, and how to reach us.
Our office also:
- Can start its own complaints independent of specific residents making a complaint.
- Makes recommendations to the City Manager and to APD about individual incidents and investigations, as well as broader policy recommendations.
- Is committed to treating all parties — residents, APD, and the Austin Police Association (APA) — as stakeholders involved in an ongoing conversation. We seek to understand and learn from all perspectives.
The mission of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department’s conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community.
Director, Office of Police Oversight
City of Austin
Sylvia Hardman began her legal career at the Office of Attorney General, gaining extensive trial experience. She worked in the Fraud Unit for the Texas Department of Insurance, where she worked with different law enforcement agencies. She was the General Counsel and Ethics Advisor for two State Agencies, the Texas Rehabilitation Commission (TRC) and the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). She is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program.
She has served on several civic and professional boards and committees, including the Citizen Review Panel, where she gained training and an understanding of the Austin Police Department and civilian oversight of law enforcement agencies; the Ethics Review Commission for the City of Austin; the Austin Tenant's Council; and the Travis County Fee Dispute Committee. She currently serves on the Civil Service Commission for the Travis County Sherriff's Office, and she is a Panel Chair for the State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee.
Sylvia Hardman received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.