Last Friday, City Manager Spencer Cronk released a proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, which funds two police cadet classes next year. A commitment to future cadet classes is a significant step toward solving the Austin Police Department’s staffing crisis.
The police department will have at least 156 vacancies by the end of July, in addition to the 150 officer positions cut last year. The 144th cadet class, which started last month, graduates in late January. The police department will still lose more officers at the current attrition rate than it gains with two cadet classes next year. A third modified or regular cadet class is needed to fill expected vacancies.
Austin needs a new evidence-based police staffing model. The Greater Austin Crime Commission is working with business and community groups to develop a police staffing model that balances response times with expectations about patrol services.
Here are a few highlights from the proposed FY 22 public safety budget:
- $1.5 million to support partial-year funding of 28 staff and equipment for new Loop 360 Fire/EMS station, scheduled to open July 2022; total annual operating cost of $2.9 million
- $4.2 million and 44 victim services counselors to provide crisis response to victims and their families
- 14 new positions to create Municipal Court Marshal Program, replacing Austin Police officers who previously provided these services
- Emergency Communications Department, Forensic Science Department, Decouple Fund, and Reimagine Safety Fund are incorporated back within the Austin Police Department budget to comply with new state budget requirements
Community input is scheduled for July 22 and 29. City council work sessions will be held on July 27 and August 3. Budget adoption will start on August 11. Budget documents available online here.
Urge the Austin City Council to support the city manager’s proposed budget, which also includes funding for a new fire station and continues reinvestments in alternative responses and programs to protect our rapidly growing community.
Phase Three of the public camping ordinance enforcement began yesterday. Austin Police Department may initiate arrests or encampment clearances in situations where compliance has not been achieved after a citation is issued.
P.S. Join the Neighborhood Network and thousands of public safety advocates who support Central Texas first responders.