The City of Austin has made numerous reforms to public safety over the years, including conducting an investigation of systemic discrimination and bias within APD and establishing the Office of Police Oversight.
The April 24, 2020 death of Mr. Michael Ramos during an interaction with APD officers amplified calls to end disparities in how communities of color are treated when they interact with officers. Those calls became part of a moment of national racial reckoning with the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
In August 2020, after hours of community testimony, the City Council passed a historic budget to redefine public safety. Also, the City Manager charged his Executive Leadership Team with creating a City-Community Reimagining Public Safety Task Force to consider new ways to help and support the community in times of crisis.
The City of Austin is committed to implementing policy and cultural changes to address the disproportionate impact of police violence on people of color and other affected communities.
In this historic moment, the City Manager and City Council have acted on a series of public safety changes.
RPS Leadership Team Releases Quarterly Progress Report
The RPS leadership team and City staff have advanced progress on key public safety initiatives throughout February and March including City Council approval of the City Manager's blueprint for a reimagined Austin Police Department training academy and the creation of a new Forensic Sciences Department as well as the launch of the mental health option to the 9-1-1 call triage. Read the report.
City Council Approves Reimagined Police Cadet Academy Blueprint
If the blueprint is approved by council and the academy can be conducted in accord with all the objectives outlined in the plan along with additional progress reporting, community input, independent evaluation, and budget criteria directed by Council, the first class of the reimagined APD cadet academy could commence on June 7, 2021. Read More.
OPO Presents Findings of APD Training Academy Assessment
On March 23, 2021, the Office of Police Oversight hosted a virtual conversation to share the preliminary findings of independent consultants Kroll & Associates' assessment of the Austin Police Department’s training academy. Over 40 community members representing many local organizations attended, and session was extended to include everyone's questions. Click here to watch a recording of the meeting. To read more, click here.
Search Begins for New Austin Police Department Leadership
City Manager Spencer Cronk announced the search for a new Chief to lead the Austin Police Department on March 22. The search and hiring process will involve extensive engagement with the community. The City Manager's timeline sets a target for completing the process and announcing a finalist by August. Read more.
RPS Leadership Team Provides Update on Reimagining Activities
On March 10, the Public Safety Committee of the Austin City Council received a briefing from the RPS leadership team which provided an update on reimagining activities. The briefing focused on progress in the areas of decoupling (shifting) services and operations from APD to other City Departments, and reinvestments.
RPS Leadership Team Updates Timeline for Mid-Year Recommendations to Council
City’s Reimagining Public Safety Core Leadership Team and City-Community Reimagining Public Safety Task Force plan to bring forward mid-year updates and recommendations to City Council on April 20, 2021. The timeline, updated from March 2021 to April 2021, will help provide the Task Force and community members with additional time to consolidate their input on RPS recommendations. Read more.
Kroll Associates, Inc. Releases Initial Assessment of the APD Training Academy
The Austin Police Department publishes a yearly report which analyzes demographic data relating to motor vehicle stops. The 2020 report was released on March 1, 2021. Read the report.
Mental Health Services Option Added to 9-1-1
As of February 1, 2021, 9-1-1 callers are now asked if they need police, fire, EMS, or mental health services. This addition is in response to community requests, and Austin represents the first department in the country to include mental health crises in the emergency call triage process. Read more about the initiative.
Reimagining Public Safety Comprehensive Quarterly Update Released
The Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) leadership team has published the first RPS quarterly update summarizing significant milestones in the RPS initiative and from spring 2020 through the end of January 2021. The report is organized by RPS priority categories: Decoupling, Reimagining and Reinvestment. Read the report.
Community Video Review Panel Recommendations Released
A community panel assembled by the City of Austin Equity Office conducted a review of selected Austin Police Department (APD) Training Academy videos to determine their suitability from an equity perspective. The group has issued recommendations for improvement as a result of that review. Those recommendations are outlined in the APD Training Videos Community Review Report drafted by the community representatives serving on the panel as well as the Video Review Panel Facilitator Final Reportfrom the facilitator of the video review process. The review and recommendations are one of the outcomes resulting from City Council Resolution 66: Investigate Racism within APD.