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

Stories by Emma Freer

Legislation restricting open records requests likely to meet opposition

Legislation aimed at redacting personal information from city records subject to the state’s open record law faces an uphill battle at the Texas Capitol.  This was the message in a Nov. 8 memo to Austin City Council from city staff.…

Police union revisits city’s proposal to expand civilian oversight as clock ticks down

The Austin Police Association will respond later this month to the city’s repeated demands to remove civilian oversight of the police department from the labor contract. In exchange, the union has asked the city to reconsider some of its earlier…

Community advocates seek to expand police oversight – but not at the bargaining table

After months of negotiation over a new police labor contract, the city and the police union have reached an impasse over the most contentious issues: civilian oversight and pay.  As the bargaining teams attempt to forge a path forward, balancing…

Police union rejects city’s proposals to expand civilian oversight, raise pay

With the city of Austin eager to reach an expedited agreement for a new police labor contract that expands civilian oversight, the police union is demanding higher wages for officers – or no deal.  Lowell Denton, an outside attorney and…

Featured Collection: Austin Energy 2022 rate case

Austin Energy ramps up outreach for proposed rate changes

Austin Energy has entered the public hearing phase of its base rate review process, following its proposal to raise service costs. The monthslong dialogue with stakeholders and city staff, slated for resolution by City Council in November, has surfaced predictable…

Ordinance would remove civilian oversight of police from labor contract

The city of Austin laid out its plan for removing the Office of Police Oversight from its labor contract with the Austin Police Association, the union that represents police officers, as well as its aim to reach a new agreement…

Police oversight office advocates for community input in updating police body- and dash-cam policies

The Austin Police Department should incorporate public feedback when developing policies related to body-worn and dashboard cameras, direct officers to alert community members when their interaction is being recorded, investigate potential violations of body-worn and dashboard camera policies, and reconsider…

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Crash deaths, injuries on the rise despite Vision Zero interventions

Traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in the city of Austin have increased in 2022 compared with the five-year average, highlighting the barriers that stand in the way of the city’s Vision Zero goals. The Vision Zero program, which originated in…

City, police union seek a new contract before May election, when oversight is on the ballot

With Austin voters set to vote on whether to expand civilian oversight of the police department in May, the city of Austin and the Austin Police Association reaffirmed their commitment to finalizing a new labor contract before the spring election,…

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…

APD releases after-action report detailing response to 2020 protests

In the two years and four months since thousands of Austinites protested the police killing of George Floyd, 19 Austin police officers have been indicted for using so-called less-lethal ammunition, or beanbag rounds, on protesters, and the city of Austin…

Council sends police oversight act to voters, despite concerns about delay

Voters will decide in May whether to expand civilian oversight of the Austin Police Department after City Council declined to pass an initiative petition during a Sept. 15 meeting, with some members expressing concerns about potential legal challenges.  The political…

City to raise pay for 911 operators, police dispatchers amid vacancies

The city of Austin will increase pay rates for 911 call takers and police dispatchers for the second time in five months in an effort to stanch rising vacancy rates.  Human Resources and Civil Services Director Joya Hayes announced the…

Black dispossession study starts to quantify cost of city's 1928 master plan

The city’s 1928 master plan, which effectively legalized segregation in Austin and limited public services for Black residents to a newly created “Negro District” east of what is now Interstate 35, has cost Black homeowners in just five neighborhoods –…

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