AUSTIN, Texas - Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk has delayed the start of the next police academy class so that an ongoing audit of the academy's materials can be completed. Officials say the purpose of the audit is to ensure all training materials are free of any potential bias or unrecognized discriminatory perspectives.
The class was scheduled for June 2020 and is now expected to begin in mid-July.
The audit had been expected to be completed by June but has been pushed back due to the scope of the work and also the impact of the city's response to COVID-19.
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"While this delay is not optimal given the number of officer vacancies, it is necessary,” City Manager Cronk says in a news release. “I know our academy and community will be well served by taking the time to do the hard work called for in this audit.”
On Dec. 5, 2019, the Austin City Council passed a resolution requiring a series of actions aimed at identifying and eliminating discrimination and bias in policing. This included a provision directing the City Manager to audit and update the academy’s materials and curriculum.
“Racist language, slurs, intolerance, and derogatory behaviors – implicit or explicit – are completely unacceptable in our organization and it is my expectation that every person is treated with dignity and respect,” said City Manager Cronk. “This audit provides an opportunity to reinforce that commitment and identify where we can improve to ensure that our officers are being trained to provide the policing our community expects and deserves.”
The audit is being conducted by staff from the City Manager’s Office, Equity Office, Office of Police Oversight, and the Austin Police Department’s Organizational and Development Training Manager. They're working in conjunction with an outside academic consultant and select community members.
You can get additional information on the city's website.