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Public Safety

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…

Travis County preps for centennial fire prevention week

According to a proclamation unanimously approved by the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, the week of Oct. 9-15 is the 100th annual fire prevention week in Travis County. The theme of the centennial? “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.”…

Austin Public Health expands eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine

Austinites at risk of contracting monkeypox are now eligible for the vaccine, health officials said Monday. Previously, the vaccine was limited to people directly exposed to the virus or diagnosed with the disease. “We are really just classifying anyone at…

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,…

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…

APD officers continue to direct homeless to campsite closed for new residents

The Austin Police Department has for months continued to direct homeless individuals to a camping site that has been closed to new residents, leaving people with no legal place to find shelter while staying with their belongings. At Wednesday’s meeting…

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…

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Public Safety joins parks board effort to study crime in city parks

At its special called meeting Tuesday, the Public Safety Commission unanimously voted to send one of its members to a Parks and Recreation Board working group studying crime in city parks and tasked with coming up with recommendations for City…

County may start participating in national ballistics database

The first of three gun violence prevention briefings was held Sept. 8 at Travis County Commissioners Court, drawing a diverse crowd from police officials to intervention groups and diversion program advocates. The bulk of discussion focused on a firearms shell…

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 responds to concerns about LRAD crowd control measure

At the Public Safety Commission’s special called meeting Tuesday, the Austin Police Department answered follow-up questions about its ongoing use of long-range acoustic device, or LRAD, technology as a crowd control method amid concerns it could damage the hearing of…

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…

County hears calls to center voices of people impacted by overdose crisis

Last week, the Travis County Commissioners Court received a monthly update on the opioid overdose crisis, which the county declared a public health emergency in May. A lot of the conversation focused on the testimony of Aaron Ferguson, a local…

Austin-Travis County EMS, city OK new raises, contract for medical first responders

Austin-Travis County’s emergency medical personnel are getting a raise. The city of Austin reached a deal with EMS negotiators late last month, and City Council unanimously approved the one-year contract with medics on Thursday. The deal is a stopgap, but it…

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