The Austin Police Department improperly cleared nearly one-third of reported rape cases during three months of 2017, according to the preliminary results of a report from an independent auditor cited Thursday by Reveal. The audit analyzed 95 cases from January, November, and December of 2017 that were classified as “exceptionally cleared”—which signifies that police know who the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest because the suspect is dead or in prison, prosecutors refused to take the case, or the alleged victim didn’t want to move forward. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said on New Year’s Eve that the preliminary analysis found that “30 rape offenses that were exceptionally cleared did not meet the criteria for exceptional clearances.” The proper classification of those cases remains unclear—but the findings contradict the department’s previous statistics on solved rape cases.
While the department previously said its own internal review deemed the exceptional clearances “appropriate,” Reveal notes, Manley has now pledged to retrain every detective in the department. “It’s important we take these steps to shore up these areas where maybe we are doing something inaccurately,” Manley said Monday, “so that we can have confidence in the information we are putting forward.”