Eliminate new and vacant positions and redirect funds and positions to alternative public health and public safety initiatives to provide preventative measures that reduce the community needs issues that become public safety issues.
This reform is directed by City Council Resolution 20200611-096.
City Manager to work with Office of Police Oversight and Equity Office on best service delivery model to move social services and public health functions performed by the Austin Police Department (APD) to other City departments or outside government and non-governmental entities.
Deliverables and Outcome
Rewrite of APD General Orders, audit of APD disciplinary actions and development of a process that engages the Office of Police Oversight, the Equity Office, the City-Community Reimaging Task Force and other community members in developing best practices for public safety training, policies and practices and implementation of the Equity Assessment Tool to measure the equity in public safety outcomes for communities of color and other marginalized groups.
These elements of the reform resolution are considered complete, as of November 30. Some changes were implemented starting with the 2020 budget and some were for the 2021 budget.
- No new sworn positions added to APD
- Eliminate sworn vacancies
- No new funding for militarized equipment
- Include money for a process to rewrite General Orders
- Increase staffing for mental health first responders
- Include funding to fully implement First Responder Mental Health Calls for Service
- Include funding for distribution of Naloxone for emergency treatment of drug overdoses
- Include funding for offices of Police Oversight and Equity
- Include funding for an audit of costs related to suspected and/or confirmed officer misconduct
- Conduct investigation into allegation of racist remarks
- Transfer of APD public information positions to a newly created public safety communications program in Communications and Public Information Office
- Review all grants received by APD to ensure alignment with City Council's vision
These elements of the reform resolutions are considered in progress, as of March 2021.
- Explore options for reallocating APD functions to other departments
- Explore options for reallocating positions and roles to new city units
- Explore options for reallocation APD functions to outside partner entities
- Set aside reserve funds to implement recommendations from APD-related audits
- Include funding for expansion of programs to reduce or eliminate arrests for low-level offenses
- Explore and propose ways to structure the APD 2021 budget
APD has expended $84.9 million of its $292.9 million budget (29.0%). Programs within the APD Decouple Fund have expended $16.9 million of their $76.6 million budget (22.1%). Programs within the APD Reimagine Safety Fund have expended $10.4 million of their $45.1 million budget (23.1%). Sworn overtime expenses are $5.4 million through the first quarter. An estimated $2.6 million of those expenses are expected to be reimbursed through FEMA and the CARES Act. The total sworn overtime budget of $3.2 million is budgeted in the APD Reimagine Safety Fund.
APD is nearing completion of a zero-based budgeting review of their FY 2020-21 budget. This will serve as the base budget for an outcomes-based budgeting approach, informed by the results of the Reimagining Public Safety process.
Several immediate actions have been completed or addressed in the approved 2021 Budget under the framework of this resolution including:
- Investigation into allegations of racist language use within APD.
- No new sworn positions added to the police department and the elimination of sworn vacancies.
- Increased staffing for mental health first responders and funding established to fully implement First Responder Mental Health Calls for Service.
- Funding for distribution of Naloxone for emergency treatment of narcotics overdoses.
- Increased funding for offices of Police Oversight and Equity, funding for an audit of costs related to suspected and/or confirmed officer misconduct.
- Funding for a process to rewrite police General Orders.
Additionally, as outlined in a memo on August 10, 2020, City staff has developed an initial timeline for transitioning public safety programs and services identified for reimagining. Human resources department staff is conducting leadership team meetings and focus groups with the affected departments to develop recommendations for the City Manager on how to proceed with re-alignment plan with the least amount of impact on department operations and service.
City Council Reimagining Public Safety 2021 Budget Changes
On August 13, 2020, Council approved an APD budget of approximately $290 million which reflects a budget change of $153.2 million.
The adopted budget directs that $153.2 million in police funding to be reallocated in the following ways:
- Reduce & Reinvest APD funding by approximately $31.5 million – taken primarily from cadet classes and overtime – to reinvest in permanent supportive housing and services, EMS for COVID-19 response, family violence shelter and protection, violence prevention, workforce development, and a range of other programs.
- Transfer a number of APD functions (and related funding of approximately $76.6 million) out of APD over the course of the fiscal year. These include Forensics Sciences, Communications/911 call center, strategic support, and internal affairs.
- Create a Reimagine Safety Fund to potentially divert approximately $45.1 million from APD toward alternative forms of public safety and community support as determined through the year-long reimagining process.
Council also directed the City Manager to return to Council no later than March 2021 to amend the public safety budget following public engagement on the Reimagining Public Safety Process.
Council adopted Resolution 20200611-096 on June 11, 2020.