City suspends Citizen Review Panel amidst APD contract negotiations

A citizen panel that oversee's the Austin Police Department's conduct has been suspended.

Tuesday, the Interim City Manager Elaine Hart set a memo to city council stating without the Citizen Review Panel's access to confidential information the group could not function and until Austin Police contract negotiations are reached there is no panel.

The panel is made up of seven volunteers who review alleged police misconduct.

District 6 city councilman Jimmy Flannigan said the suspension is a suspension is a small bump in the road one the council is working on addressing while under contract negotiations

"Having citizen oversight and citizen review is an important part of that trusting relationship so that the community when it engages with that police department and they know if they feel there is going to be an issue they know there is a group of their peers a group of the community that are there to review it," Flannigan said."We need more police officers and we need more civilian oversight this is a bump in the rad I remain confident that the union and the council will come back together and find a positive solution to this situation."

Chas Moore, Austin Justice Coalition said he and other organizations would like CRP to be separate from contract negotiations and serve as an independent panel.

Similar to the independent review panel Houston has.

"If you don't have the community input there if you don't have supervision in some aspect then you know we gonna take ten steps back," Moore said."For the community to actually and the stakeholders who have been working with this process and actually implement this thing and take it out of the contract completely so we can actually have an independent investigatory civilian led review body.

City council rejected APD's proposed contract in December. Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said the new proposed contract gives the Citizen Review Panel more power. They would be able to directly contact the Chief making requests to policy or procedural changes.