A City of Austin report, Analysis of APD Racial Profiling Data, takes a deeper dive into Austin Police Department motor vehicle stops and makes recommendations to advance the Council’s priority focus on fair administration of justice.
The City’s Office of Police Oversight, Office of Innovation, and Equity Office jointly evaluated APD’s Annual Racial Profiling Report from 2018 in the context of the City Council’s Strategic Direction 2023 (SD 2023) priority indicator of Fair Administration of Justice. The authors of the joint report examined APD motor vehicle stop data from 2015-2018 and the race/ethnicity of the people pulled over to better understand how various racial/ethnic groups in Austin experience motor vehicle stops.
The report, published today, concludes that people of color in Austin are still stopped in their motor vehicles at disproportionately higher rates than their percentage of the population in Austin. While the APD Annual Report focuses on the raw numbers of stops, searches, and arrests, the new joint report focuses on the ethnicity of those stopped, searched, and arrested in the context of their overall percentage of the population.
The report makes a series of recommendations to advance the goal of ensuring that all community members are treated fairly and equitably in the enforcement of laws. The recommendations include that the City recommit to ending those disparities, that APD reach out to sister cities that have had some success in reducing racial disparities in policing, and suggests continued and enhanced training within the police department.
“In order to prioritize equity, transparency, and accountability, it is necessary for the City of Austin to seriously examine the disproportionality in how people of color experience policing in Austin. A review of this disproportionality and solutions to address it are important in achieving the fair administration of justice,” said Office of Police Oversight Director Farah Muscadin.
“This report opens the door for us to have the real critical and courageous conversation about how racism plays out in policing and the fair administration of justice in our city. Our vision is to make Austin the most livable city in the nation and we can’t accomplish that vision if the color of one’s skin continues to be a predictor of if you get stopped, searched, or arrested in our city,” said Chief Equity Officer Brion Oaks.
“The City has made a commitment to equity,” said Chief Innovation Officer Kerry O’Connor. “This means that in data analysis, we borrow from the legal standard of disparate impact to set and measure our equity goals. We compare how often a racial/ethnic group has an experience to their share of the total population. We always check for over- or under-representation. We hold ourselves accountable to achieving that goal not merely Department by Department, but as a whole city.”
“The Austin Police Department is committed to doing all that we can to ensure our service and practices serve everyone in a fair and equitable manner,” said Police Chief Brian Manley. “The report builds upon the work APD has started in the past years and will better align with the outcomes under Strategic Direction 2023. I welcome the opportunity to see what practices other agencies are doing and how we might incorporate them in Austin. We are working diligently to address disparities and will continue to engage with the community in these efforts.”
About the Office of Police Oversight
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.
About the Equity Office
The City of Austin’s Equity Office provides leadership, guidance, and insight on equity to improve the quality of life for Austinites. It works to achieve the vision of making Austin the most livable city in the nation for all. The Office strives to build and sustain a culture of equity across the city.
About the Office of Innovation
The Innovation Office helps diverse and inclusive teams examine challenges and opportunities to surface better ideas and solutions that make a lasting, positive impact. It works with internal and external partners to develop, test, organize, and encourage innovative projects with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the City of Austin.
About the Austin Police Department
The Austin Police Department (APD) is comprised of a diverse team of servants from a variety of different backgrounds united by the same goal: to create a safer Austin for our residents and visitors while serving the community in a way that forges collaborative partnerships and meaningful relationships between officers and citizens. APD’s mission is to keep you, your family, and our community safe through innovative strategies and community engagement.
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