Since June, a working group has been meeting quietly to discuss what kind of public oversight is needed for the Austin Police Department.
The group is working to rebuild from the wreckage of the Citizen Review Panel, suspended after 17 years when the City Council in December rejected the police labor agreement that has always included the terms of the panel’s authority.
Chris Harris, a member of the working group and an organizer for Grassroots Leadership, a local prison reform non-profit, told The Texas Monitor the issue is whether or not the police department will concede to citizens a voice in how they are policed.
“If you look at the history of the Citizens Review Panel, I think you’ll find that multiple chiefs over the years have been very comfortable ignoring it,” Harris said. Read more about Another citizen review board for Austin police in the works