AUSTIN, Texas - The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) has released its inaugural officer-involved shooting reports for incidents that occurred in 2018.
OPO has reviewed every officer-involved shooting that involved an Austin Police Department officer from 2018 in order to "identify any recurring factors and highlight areas for improvement."
The report finds that in 2018 there were 12 officer-involved shootings involving APD:
- Most individuals involved in 2018 officer-involved shooting incidents were ethnic minorities, specifically Latinx males.
- Most individuals involved in 2018 officer-involved shooting incidents were between 20-28 years old.
- The highest concentration of officer-involved shootings occurred in City Council District 2, the borders of which closely mirror those of APD’s Frank sector. District 2 and Frank sector cover southeast Austin.
- Almost half of all involved officers had between three to six years of APD experience, and more than half of all involved officers were between 30-39 years old.
- Involved officers used “less-lethal” force before firearms in only one incident.
OPO says the report concludes that the officer-involved shootings in 2018 highlight many issues that APD must acknowledge and address to provide transparency and accountability to the community.
"Specifically, officers’ failure to use de-escalation tactics in many of the incidents, and failure to use “less-lethal” force options in all but one incident, require further explanation from APD," OPO stated in a press release.
The report also shows that 2018 data reveals that a concentration of officer-involved shootings affected individuals who are ethnic minorities and from areas of Austin that are historically minority-majority.
"APD must account for these demographic and geographic disparities because doing so will be essential to effectuate the community policing model APD endeavors to achieve," OPO stated.
The report recommends that APD:
- Increase continuing education in de-escalation, response to resistance; crisis intervention and mental health response, and community policing
- Publish annual reports related to any officer-involved shooting incidents involving the department
- Increase the OPO’s access to officer-involved shooting incident data
- Ensure mental health response training, policies, and procedures follow best practices and address shortcomings found in the 2018 City Auditor report
“In the most significant way, officer-involved shootings represent the power that law enforcement officers have over the lives of the civilians they serve. As a result, both OPO and APD must critically analyze each officer-involved shooting incident that occurs and must also look at the aggregate data to determine what substantive policy changes can be made to address any recurring issues,” said Office of Police Oversight Director Farah Muscadin.