The Austin police contract fall-out may soon head to court. The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, on behalf of the Austin Police Association, has submitted a cease and desist letter to the city manager's office. This is a warning of a possible law suit.
In a memo sent to council, Interim City Manager Elaine Hart outlines her plans to continue with the functionality of the Office of the Police Monitor.
On the city's website it says the office assesses citizen complaints and monitors internal affairs investigations among other roles.
CLEAT says that can't continue. Since the city council did not approve of a proposed contract, the department has fallen under civil service law.
CLEAT says under civil service law, the Office of the Police Monitor no longer exists. It is a civilian operation and the city would be in violation if it continued to carry out as is.
"We've gone past all the warning signs. We've gone past politics. Now we're into known law which is Civil Service Law,” said CLEAT Executive Director Charley Wilkison.
Ken Casaday, President of the Austin Police Association, sent FOX 7 the following statement:
The Austin Police Association remains committed to working towards a “Meet and Confer” labor contract with the City of Austin that is fair to our community and our officers. The men and women of the Austin Police department continue to work diligently to protect the safety of our community. APD is now operating under civil service law code 143, which does not allow for certain requirements about citizen oversight and specifically functions of the Office of the Police Monitor. We look forward to going back to the bargaining table when the new city manager is on board to negotiate a contract that includes citizen oversight as well as fair wage increase for officers.
The mayor's office is reviewing the letter, but did not make any further comment.