How to Provide Feedback on the ODA Body Camera Policy

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Police Oversight Office (OPO) wants to know what the community thinks of the Austin Police Department’s body camera policy.

After the 2020 protests, as part of the city’s “Reinventing Public Safety” campaign, the OPO was asked to analyze general orders from the ODA.

“We conducted research comparing current ODA policies to best policing practices across the United States,” said Cristina Tangredi, the group’s public information specialist.

In an analysis published in January, the OPO found that APD’s policy regarding body camera and dash cam use was too vague. OPO said it states that agents can stop recording for any reason authorized by a supervisor, but there is no information on when a supervisor can make that call.

“I wanted to make a difference in how the police department handles its rules,” said Billy Knowlton, who completed a feedback survey at the Austin Public Library.

Hard copies of the surveys are currently available at all branches of the Austin Public Library. You can also complete the body camera survey online here. You can do this until April 1.

You can also attend virtual feedback sessions with OPO on Zoom by clicking here.

Knowlton says he wants to see clearer guidelines, not only to protect community members, but also officers.

“I’d like to see when officers are doing traffic checks or making an arrest that they activate body cameras that way when people are going to complain to the police that it’s not a misrepresentation,” he said. -he declares.

The BOA also recommends more clarity around when officers can activate and deactivate cameras.

In July 2021, the Austin Police Department changed how it releases body camera video as well as the timing of this release. Now, the video is supposed to be available 10 business days from when an incident involving a shooting, death in custody or use of force occurs. Previously, the department had a 60-day deadline.

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