Independent consultant briefs City on ‘reinvented’ class of Austin police cadets

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The report says ODA has improved culture and equity in the academy, making most of the recommended changes.

AUSTIN, Texas – Kroll & Associates, an independent consultant hired to oversee Austin Police Department (APD) The new “redesigned cadet class” will present its findings to city council on Thursday, October 21.

The consulting company the report was released on Wednesday and said APD has improved culture and equity in the academy, making most of the recommended changes.

The 87-page report said, overall, the ODA leadership “sets the tone” and “rightly pointed out that the mission of the Academy is to train future ODA officers to serve the community and deal everyone with dignity and respect while emphasizing sensitivity to community concerns, cultural competence, critical thinking and adult learning.

According to a survey of cadets, 91.4% said they believed their instructors had a positive focus on community engagement and community policing.

There was, however, still some constructive criticism of the police academy.

“The Academy is making positive progress in the transition to a more balanced and resilient-based training model. Overall, however, a military-style culture still prevails at the Academy with an emphasis on disciplinary action and collective responsibility “, the report indicated.

Fifty-four percent of cadets interviewed reported that instructors sometimes ridiculed the concept of a “reinvented police academy” when 91.4% agreed that staff emphasized community engagement and community policing.

Kroll said he could not realistically expect “a complete culture change” in the first 15 weeks of the new academy, but that he would continue to monitor these developments in the second half of this year. Training.

Kroll said in his report that APD “has successfully implemented” its two-week community engagement program, where cadets were introduced to large groups in the community with diverse perspectives on the issues. social workers and the police. Kroll recommended allowing more time for cadets to interact one-on-one with community members, asking and responding to them.

This 144th cadet class is the first to include anti-racism training. Kroll said – based on feedback from cadets and staff – that “the workshops had an impact, forcing cadets and staff to think about difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions, while still allowing for honest conversations with each other and with participating community members “.

In the cadet survey, Kroll reported that the two most common criticisms concerned the academy’s COVID-19 policies and the lack of instructional videos.

“In particular, the cadets criticized the lack of accommodation offered to those who need to be quarantined due to positive COVID-19 tests or close contact,” he added. report said.

Read it full report here.

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