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Public Safety

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,…

City races to prepare for the next emergency

City Council’s Audit & Finance Committee received an updated report Wednesday on the city’s efforts to prepare for what Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano has described as “complex, cascading disasters,” like the city faced last February during Winter Storm Uri.…

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…

Austin voters to decide on decriminalizing small amounts of weed and banning no-knock warrants in May

Austin voters will be asked in May if they want to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and do away with no-knock warrants. The former practice is already police policy. In July 2020, the Austin Police Department said it would no longer…

County holds virtual meet-and-greet for county executive candidates

Travis County is hosting a virtual meet-and-greet tomorrow from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to present the final three candidates for the new Health and Human Services county executive position. Juan Duarte is currently the executive director for the Office of…

Austin/Travis County require businesses to post whether they require masks, Covid-19 tests or vaccinations

Starting Monday, businesses in Travis County and the city of Austin will have to post a sign indicating whether employees and customers need to wear a mask, show a negative Covid-19 test or be vaccinated against the virus. City of…

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Austin police should budget for 100 more patrol officers, study says. Chief unsure if he’ll ask for funds.

The Austin Police Department should budget for 108 more patrol officers to respond to emergency calls more quickly, researchers hired by the nonprofit Greater Austin Crime Commission say. In an analysis of about 2 million 911 calls going back to 2016, researchers…

County seeks to expand mental health care for those facing incarceration

Nearly 20 percent of inmates booked into Travis County jails in September 2021 needed mental health treatment, but a month after their incarceration, only a third of them were receiving the needed treatment. That was the conclusion reached by Dr. Steve Strakowski,…

Chacon highlights priorities for Safer Sixth Street plan

Austin’s police chief has highlighted a handful of action steps as the most important things the police department can do to improve safety in the Sixth Street entertainment district, in the wake of a summer mass shooting that killed an…

City urges high-risk people to avoid gatherings as Austin moves to Stage 5 Covid precautions

Lee esta historia en español. Austin and Travis County are back at the highest stage of Austin Public Health’s Covid-19 community risk guidance as the omicron variant of the coronavirus has caused a surge of new infections and hospitalizations. The…

Five finalists named for EMS chief post

City Manager Spencer Cronk has named five finalists to advance to a second round of interviews for the position of chief of Austin-Travis County Emergency Services. The national search produced 37 applications from candidates vying to fill the vacancy created…

County looks to Sobering Center to house jail-diversion program

On Thursday, the Travis County Commissioners Court convened a working group meeting to receive the findings of a feasibility study regarding the potential combination of a criminal justice/mental health diversion program with the Austin-Travis County Sobering Center. The county commissioned…

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