Neighborhood Network

March 1, 2021

Dear Neighbor,

Two weeks ago, as a winter storm threatened lives, firefighters, medics, and police officers responded. When power and water failed, first responders didn’t.

Many first responders could not get home to their families, sleeping in EMS, fire, and police stations. The city manager and staff worked tirelessly to coordinate emergency relief and maintain essential services. Utility workers braved dangerous situations. City council members organized businesses and nonprofit groups to provide food and water and check on vulnerable neighbors. The community was tested in unimaginable ways, but came together in a crisis.

Share your winter storm stories about Austin’s first responders here, and I will include them in future Neighborhood Network newsletters.

The last year has been demanding for public safety departments. Nothing has been easy during a pandemic. The winter storm showed the importance of well-trained first responders. Austin public safety agencies were ready.

The city council will receive an update tomorrow about the Austin Police Department’s progress to overhaul recruiting and training, including the most recent review by an outside consultant. We hope the city manager’s presentation will result in quick action to restart cadet classes. Watch the work session on ATXN. The police training update is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.

The recent disaster proved why we invest in public safety. When next year’s city budget discussions begin soon, ask yourself, do we need less public safety spending or more?

The City-Community Reimagining Public Safety Task Force meets Wednesday, March 10, from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. Fifteen social justice groups and the Greater Austin Crime Commission are represented. The event will be live-streamed.

The Chief’s Monthly Report for January is now available. Crimes against persons were down in every category compared to last January except aggravated assault, which went up 35 percent. Several crimes against property categories increased, including arson (+29 percent), robbery (+27 percent), and auto theft (+22 percent).

Stay safe and well.



P.S. Your generosity will continue to be needed as so many in the community face costly repairs. Please give to nonprofit groups helping our neighbors, including the Austin Disaster Relief Network.