Austin City Council will begin fiscal year 2021-22 budget adoption on Wednesday. City Manager Spencer Cronk proposed a budget that includes two police cadet classes next year.
Restarting the training academy this summer and funding two cadet classes next year are necessary steps to improve the police staffing crisis. At least 174 vacancies are expected by the end of the month, in addition to the 150 positions cut last year. Even with two cadet classes, the department will have a net loss in 2022 at the current attrition rate.
What’s next? An evidence-based police staffing model will be announced in a few weeks. The model relies on empirical data and machine learning while using value-based survey data to provide insight into staffing requirements for adequate call response and activities officers undertake when not working on calls for service. City staff, elected officials, and the community will have full access to the model and survey data.
Last week, the Major City Chiefs Association released a national Violent Crime Survey of large US cities in the first half of 2021. Homicide, rape, and aggravated assault increased across the country. According to the survey, these categories in Austin have risen faster than the national rate.
Phase Four of the public camping ordinance implementation began yesterday. Violators may be taken into custody if a police officer issues a citation and the individual does not voluntarily leave. When police make an arrest for a camping ordinance violation, the person will be processed by the Downtown Austin Community Court and connected with service providers.
P.S. A grateful community paid its respects to Austin Police Officer Andy Traylor today. Traylor died last week from injuries in an on-duty motor vehicle accident. Austin Cops 4 Charities is accepting online donations for the family. Charitable contributions can also be made to the 100 Club of Central Texas Survivor Fund.