By Elizabeth Christian and David L. Roche – Special to the American-Statesman Updated: 5:18 p.m. Wednesday, September 06, 2017 The Austin City Council thinks we’re safe enough. Otherwise, how do you explain a reduction in public safety spending as a percentage of the city’s budget next year? Despite population growth, increases in violent crime, emergency… Read more »
Highly-trained law enforcement dogs are one of the most effective non-lethal aids in the prevention and detection of crime. Acting as patrol partners, in search and rescue, and in the detection of explosives, narcotics, and biological and chemical weapons, many of these dogs are injured and physically stressed for their entire lives. Like their human counterparts, these certified police dogs deserve to be safe in the field and receive benefits once they are no longer able to serve.
In 2002, the Greater Austin Crime Commission responded to a critical need for services and equipment to support active and retired canines and their handlers. The state’s first 401 K-9 program was born. The program has since been called upon to provide first aid trauma kits, bullet-proof vests, medication, disaster relief, emergency veterinarian services and numerous other types of support.
Each year the Crime Commission works diligently to match resources with canine/handler team needs. Through the creation of veterinarian provider networks and access to low-cost medications and supplies, the Commission offers financial relief to law enforcement agencies and officers who provide lifelong care for retired animals. Additionally, the Crime Commission offers education and training to law enforcement through annual conferences and hands-on opportunities. Some of the issues covered during the annual Police K-9 Emergency Medical Conference
are international response procedures, decontamination procedures, heat stroke, snakebites, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and canine training to detect chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Participation at the conference includes a diverse mix of law enforcement agencies: local police departments, Department of Homeland Security/TSA, Texas Department of Public Safety, FEMA, ATF, FBI, University of Texas, and Austin ISD Police Department.
GACC continues to partner with K-9 units to raise awareness in the community and the media in support of worthy causes such as the thousands of animals displaced by natural disasters, most recently witnessed during the tragic Bastrop, Texas wildfires. Their constituency includes numerous local, state, and federal agencies. The 401 K-9 program has been recognized for its accomplishments by law enforcement agencies and leaders such as Kay Bailey Hutchison, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and local police and fire leaders. In 2004, former Austin Mayor Will Wynn of proclaimed June 29, 2004 the K-9 Medical Training Conference day.
In the News
Since 2012, three Austin Police Department staffing studies have recommended adding patrol positions. Copies of the reports (2012 PERF, 2015 GACC, and 2016 Matrix) and a transcript of the 2016 Matrix Group presentation to the Austin City Council are available below. A complete copy of the 2016 Matrix analysis and recommendations (12MB) is available here. 2012 PERF… Read more »
Respondents want improved response times, decreased criminal activity and more community policing AUSTIN, TEXAS — May 16, 2017 — A majority of likely Austin voters believe that increasing the number of police officers on Austin streets would improve overall public safety. A survey sponsored by the Greater Austin Crime Commission found 75 percent of respondents believe… Read more »