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Public Safety

Safer Sixth Street memo pushes new cameras, advises against gun buyback

The city is moving ahead with several new components of last year’s Safer Sixth Street initiative, with police, fire and emergency services staff already using a new staging area on Neches Street intended to improve response times for medical needs…

Dove Springs soon to have a comprehensive public health center

After years of work, the Dove Springs neighborhood will finally be getting a full-service public health facility. The project, which is funded by a 2018 bond measure, will be a central hub for the surrounding community, offering a number of resources in…

Growing jail populace in Travis County, review finds

The Travis County jail population is increasing, according to a recent report from Justice Planning. The uptick is largely due to increases in the number of first- and second-degree felony charges and the average length of stay for those bookings. The jail…

Austin OKs $850,000 settlement for volunteer medic shot with 'less-lethal' ammunition during protest

The city of Austin approved a $850,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit over the Austin Police Department’s use of so-called less lethal ammunition during the 2020 racial justice protests. Maredith Drake, a street medic during protests outside police headquarters, was…

City, police union negotiate new labor contract after eventful five years

The city of Austin and the Austin Police Association met for their sixth day of negotiations Monday as they work toward a new labor contract. The city’s bargaining team proposed changes to the contract’s drug-testing and promotion provisions, citing recommendations from…

Commission urges city to raise EMS pay

The Public Safety Commission approved a broad resolution Monday calling on the city to raise its offer to the Austin EMS union to pay salaries comparable to what other EMS agencies are paying. EMS salaries should be equivalent to what…

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New EMS chief outlines progress on collections

With a projected budget deficit by Fiscal Year 2027, any news about increasing collections from those who owe the city of Austin money, including the state of Texas, is good news for City Council. Robert Luckritz, who recently joined the…

Early April is for respecting public health, county decrees

In a retroactive move that was unanimously approved last Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court proclaimed the week of April 4 Public Health Week. According to the American Public Health Association, the first week of April each year is National…

EMS union, city at odds over pay

Twenty-six Emergency Medical Services employees have quit their city jobs so far this year, and according to Austin-Travis County EMS Association President Selena Xie, that’s double the number of separations in 2020 and 2021. She added that, in all of…

Austin faces another round of lawsuits related to police use of 'less lethal' rounds

Three more demonstrators are suing the Austin Police Department for injuries sustained from so-called less-lethal ammunition fired by police over a weekend of racial justice protests in 2020. More than a dozen protesters have sued the department for use of the ammunition, which include…

Chacon pledges more diverse police force

Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon told members of the Public Safety Commission Monday that his department has signed the 30 by 30 pledge, a national initiative that agrees to diversify the police force by 2030. APD is one of 40…

Travis County explores impact of legal representation during intake process

Travis County and Texas A&M are teaming up to administer a pilot study that will examine the effects of providing arrestees with legal counsel at first appearance. On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court received an update on the upcoming…

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