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Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

Stories by Amy Smith

Parks board continues weighing Zilker Park outreach efforts

The fabled adage, “Please all and you will please none,” seems to be an apt description of many of the city’s community engagement endeavors, with the ongoing outreach around the Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan serving as a timely example. …

Council adopts public safety initiative to address vacancy concerns

With staffing challenges at a critical juncture in each of Austin’s three public safety departments, City Council has directed the city manager to build a comprehensive plan to address the shortages. The ATX Public Safety Vacancy Staffing Plan lays out…

Police academy shows progress in adopting reforms

With a new cadet class set to begin in late March, the Austin Police Department and consultants are fine-tuning a curriculum that more closely aligns with the city’s reimagined public safety process. APD Chief Joseph Chacon updated City Council in…

EMS interim chief optimistic about future of the department

With 124 vacancies that need filling to round out the medic force, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services is applying a variety of methods to try to close the gaps, interim Chief Jasper Brown told the City Council Public Safety Committee…

Featured Collection: Sixth Street

Stream reveals details of six possible new Sixth Street music venues

Stream Realty Partners is eyeing the possibility of turning at least six of its properties on East Sixth Street into music venues, including a plan to convert the former Buffalo Billiards space into a daytime food hall with music in the evenings.…

With new EMS chief hire, Cronk shows commitment to change

In a somewhat surprising move, City Manager Spencer Cronk has selected an outsider with a diverse background as the new chief of Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. Robert Luckritz, chief operating officer of Transformative Healthcare, an EMS, medical transportation and…

City seeks to separate forensics lab from APD while complying with state law

It’s never too soon to talk about the 2023 city budget, especially as it relates to the Austin Police Department and the divisions that were separated out from under APD before the state Legislature penalized cities for thinking outside the…

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Council committee assignments offer few surprises

By the looks of the new City Council committee assignments approved Thursday, the mayor and most Council members will continue serving in their same appointments – with a few changes. Incoming Council Member Chito Vela, who will be sworn in…

Council meeting will be delayed, may be canceled

If you’re planning to speak at today’s City Council meeting, don’t go to City Hall. That’s the word from Mayor Steve Adler, who announced on the City Council Message Board that today’s meeting will have a delayed start time of…

Austin Police Department Budget, 2012-2022

During the 2020-21 budget process, City Council cut $31.5 million from APD’s budget, citing the protests and “community outcry against the disproportionate impact of police violence on Black Americans, Latinx Americans and other non-white ethnic communities,” according to the approved…

As Austin reimagines public safety, new police findings emerge

Arrests made by Austin police declined 51 percent from 2017 to 2020, yet use-of-force incidents increased 58 percent, according to an independent review of the Austin Police Department. A city-retained consulting firm, Kroll Associates, spent 48 months reviewing Austin’s police…

Negotiations begin anew as public safety contracts expire this year

With contracts between the city and Austin’s three public safety associations set to expire in September, the Public Safety Commission heard presentations and perspectives from each of the groups and the Austin Justice Coalition on Monday. The Austin EMS Association,…

EMS contract talks center on salary and staffing needs

With the city’s rejection of the Austin EMS Association’s proposed wage increase, the two sides now move to the interest-based bargaining phase of negotiations in an effort to achieve common ground on quality-of-life issues such as work-life balance and mandatory…

Two EMS chief finalists introduce themselves to the public

Any day now, City Manager Spencer Cronk will announce his choice of two finalists to lead Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. Interim Chief Jasper Brown and Robert Luckritz, chief operating officer of a multi-state organization in New England that handles…

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