AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted an audit, requested by Austin Police, of reported rape offense cases. The audit revealed nearly a third of its cases were cleared when they shouldn't have been.
- DPS find dozens of sexual assault cases incorrectly cleared
- Reviewed 95 cases
- APD is now retraining all detectives
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said APD is changing its policies following the audit's results.
Of the 95 rape case investigations DPS reviewed from January, November and December 2017, dozens of cases were incorrectly classified.
The audit indicates out of 95 cases, 29 cases were reported accurately, 30 did not meet required guidelines to be exceptionally cleared, and 15 were misclassified because they did not meet the legal definition of rape. DPS investigators found 14 cases should be reclassified as baseless or unfounded, and five were part of multiple offense cases that could've been closed prematurely. Two of cases were cleared at an incorrect time.
"Although we have had issues along the way as many departments do, we have shown to be a department that takes these challenges head-on," Manley said.
Manley said from now on, detectives will have to fill out a template before they can exceptionally clear a case. Offenses such as rape are cleared either by an arrest or by exceptional means according to the national standard.
Detectives have also been retrained in properly labeling cases according to the Uniform Crime Reporting requirements, another supervisor has been added to the sex crimes unit, and there will be third-party reviews of all sexual assault cases.
"I spent a lot of time as we've gone through this looking at and talking about numbers and cases and clearances but at the end of the day, behind each and every one of these is a human being, a person, a survivor and we can't lose sight of that," Manley said.
Manley said he wants to make sure he's giving the best possible service to those who have survived some of the most horrific crimes.
The police department has until February 22 to respond to the audit.