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Public Safety

County approves half a million for better DNA analysis

The Travis County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to approve a three-year grant award for $573,637 to expand DNA testing ability at the Austin Police Department. The money, sourced from the Department of Justice, will also cover the cost of hiring…

New collaborative hopes to address equity gaps in Austin's response to homelessness

Austin has consistently struggled to get people living outdoors into homes. Part of that failure lies in the city’s unprecedented real estate boom and affordability crisis over the last 10 years. Another reason is that people of color, who are overrepresented among…

Equity study attempts to mitigate long-standing health disparities

A new report by a city-appointed firm found that local medical and emergency service providers could do more to help address sharp health disparities in East and West Austin.  The equity study, which was completed this summer by Public Consulting Group,…

Resilience hub initiative continues to evolve

Winter Storm Uri, the extreme weather event that left an unknown number of Austin residents dead last February, inspired the initiative to create resilience hubs across the city that would act as a public resource in times of crisis. The initial…

EMS makes progress on billing backlog

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services is chipping away at a billing backlog that started with a demanding learning curve associated with a new patient records system implemented in 2019. Additional billing delays carried over into 2020 as city staffers started…

Council members pose tough questions about city's storm response

During Wednesday’s City Council Audit & Finance Committee meeting, Chair Alison Alter and fellow committee members Kathie Tovo and Mackenzie Kelly praised city staffers’ heroic efforts as Winter Storm Uri ground the city to a halt in February. But those…

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Council votes to protect rights of intersex children

Austin is one of the first cities in the South Central U.S. to pass a resolution formally condemning non-consensual and medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children. “There is an ‘I’ in LGBTQIA – it stands for intersex,” Mayor Pro-Tem Natasha…

Pflugerville area voters making decisions about EMS service

Travis County commissioners Jeff Travillion and Brigid Shea are urging voters they represent in Pflugerville and its extraterritorial jurisdiction to vote in favor of two propositions on today’s ballot that would expand the geographic boundaries of Travis County Emergency Services…

Ingredients for safer Sixth Street include daytime activities, alternate land uses

The city hopes a plan to increase daytime non-drinking activity, promote a variety of land uses and coordinate safety plans with bar owners will lead to a safer atmosphere in the Sixth Street entertainment district. Following a recent report to…

Emergency alerts now available in American Sign Language

For the first time, community members who are deaf, hard of hearing or blind will be able to receive accessible emergency notifications. The city of Austin and Travis County launched the Accessible Hazard Alert System, or AHAS, on Oct. 4. The…

Council postpones decision on City Marshal Office

Last Thursday, City Council considered the creation of a new municipal court division that would replace its use of sworn Austin Police Department officers. The ordinance would create a City Marshal Office, an agency separate from the Austin Police Department,…

Chacon gives progress report on making Sixth Street safer

After decades of discussion about the culture and safety of the Sixth Street entertainment district, a team of city staffers from multiple departments is making headway toward carrying out City Council-directed measures to ensure the public’s safety. Council adopted a…

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