Texas DPS begins audit into Austin Police Department sexual assault investigations

An audit is underway investigating the Austin Police Department's closure of numerous sexual assault cases.

The outside audit was requested by APD examining the department's use of "exceptional clearance" cases.

DPS will check to see whether the data submitted complies with the FBI's Uniform Crime reporting guidelines. APD Chief Brian Manley said the department has an above average number of these cases compared to most cities.

This comes after a federal lawsuit was filed by three women claiming APD and the Travis County District Attorney's office violated the rights of women and discriminated based on gender when handling sexual assault cases.

"What we are doing although we believe it to be appropriate, we believe it to be pursuant of the UCR guidelines. We have spoken to DPS in the months leading up to this and they have told us that the methodology is appropriate,” Manley said. “But without auditing our cases they can't tell us whether we are applying that methodology correctly."

According to FBI’s UCR cases can be cleared if law enforcement has:

  • identified the offender
  • gathered enough evidence -to support an arrest.
  • identified the offender's location
  • or, encountered a circumstance outside of law enforcement's control

 Chief Manley anticipates the audit to show cases falling into two categories.

"Victim refused to cooperate or its prosecution decline and while we are still pulling all those numbers I expect it's not going to be 50-50, it's going to be 60-40 and it'll fluctuate year by year," said Manley.

A backlog of more than 4,000 rape kits caused the department to revamp the sex crimes unit. Chief Manley said the department has since acquired more victim counselors and added investigators to form a cold case sex crime unit.