Citizens from all around Austin showed support for their APD District Representatives (DRs) in October by contacting City Council members to tell the Council that they did not want their DRs to be taken from their neighborhoods to work the downtown trails through the remainder of the pilot program. The Council had months earlier established trails open 24 hours/7 days for bicyclists and pedestrians in/near the downtown area requiring policing every day all day, but overtime pay was not provided. Because the council for many years has not approved budget funds to allow for adequate police staffing in Austin, APD had to pull officers in different units from around the city to patrol those areas, leaving fewer in areas which need their assigned officers.
Stats were collected showing that trail usage was an average of about 13 people each night. When citizens learned of this extremely low usage and that the DR officers in their neighborhoods who provide critically needed community policing services would continue to be pulled to work the trails . . . they took action. The Council was flooded with hundreds of phone calls and emails from around the city telling them how important the DRs are to the neighborhoods, how their services are vital to help neighbors, and that the citizens wanted to keep their DRs rather than having them pulled to work on different tasks. The Council responded by reinstating the curfew on the trails and APD agreed to allow the DRs to stay in their sectors. This situation demonstrated to the Council and APD the value that citizens place on the work done by their DRs, the benefits of community policing services they provide, and the esteem and respect citizens have for their District Reps. And a side benefit was that the DRs were assured that the residents of the areas where they work appreciate their efforts and believe in the services they provide.
For more information about APD’s District Representatives program, please follow this link.
To all Austin residents, please read the following message regarding Austin City Council’s vote next week on adding 92 new police officers to the Austin Police Department:
A message from Pam Willeford, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission:
Next week, the Austin City Council is expected to adopt the FY 2013-2014 budget.
The Greater Austin Crime Commission is urging the city council to support the police department’s FY 2013–2014 budget request for additional sworn positions. The ninety-two new officers in the proposed budget and the police department’s “unmet service demands” include forty-seven to maintain staffing level standards based on population growth and forty-five toward the recent patrol utilization study recommendations.
If you have not already done so, please take the time to communicate with council members and voice your support for additional police manpower. Click here to send an e-mail message to the mayor and council members.
Keeping Austin one of the nation’s safest large cities will require determined leadership and difficult budget decisions. Everyone recognizes that resources are limited and tax revenue is unpredictable. However, the need for additional police officers is evident as the city struggles with the demands of rapid growth, increasing property crime, special events, and the threat of transnational narcotics organizations.
Another important factor in a city that prides itself on civic engagement is the “uncommitted time” available for officers to participate in community-oriented policing activities, such as crime prevention and neighborhood programs. According to the most recent workload analysis, uncommitted patrol time has dropped to 15 percent and is well below the range (30–45) recommended for effective community policing, which builds trust, creates partnerships, and curbs crime.
Thank you for supporting public safety in our community.
Please take the time to show your support for the Austin Police Department!