Head of office that oversees Austin’s police department resigns
Farah Muscadin, the director of Austin's Office of Police Oversight, is stepping down from the job.
In a memo sent to City Council members last week and obtained by KUT on Friday, City Manager Spencer Cronk said Muscadin decided to vacate the job in order to spend more time with family. Muscadin, who started in 2018, has been on maternity leave since having a child in January.
“While on leave, Farah has made the decision to focus on growing her family while also caring for her elderly parents who live out of state,” Cronk wrote. The resignation is effective Monday.
Muscadin did not respond to a request for comment sent to her city email address.
The Office of Police Oversight is charged with operating as an independent reviewer of police policy, conduct and discipline. The Office of Police Oversight, formerly known as the Office of the Police Monitor, is established through an agreement between Austin’s police union and the city.
The office, which is housed under the police department, has often found itself in murky waters, criticized by the union as overstepping its bounds and by advocates for police reform as not having power to thoroughly investigate officer conduct. Last year, an arbitrator agreed with the police union and determined the Office of Police Oversight had overstepped its powers when it allegedly investigated a complaint of racism against an officer.
In May, voters in Austin will be asked whether the OPO should be removed from the police department; it’s a step those who support the ballot measure say will allow the office to operate more independently.
Cronk said the city will begin a national search for a new director.