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Public Safety

Public Safety Commission recommends ceasing Prop B citations

The Public Safety Commission Monday recommended that City Council halt citations and arrests related to Proposition B, arguing that public camping should not be criminalized when people don’t have anywhere else to go. “There are myriad reasons listed for why…

As breakthrough cases rise, top doc stresses vaccine's importance

The Travis County Commissioners Court and Austin City Council members will convene a special called meeting today amid growing concerns about the highly infectious Covid-19 Delta variant and a shortage of ICU beds. On Monday, Austin Public Health reported that…

Mayor, manager at odds over requiring vaccinations

On Wednesday, Mayor Steve Adler urged City Manager Spencer Cronk to require all city employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with a few exceptions. His comments came in an emailed press release. A few hours later, a city spokesperson released…

Public safety looms over city budget talks

The plea for more staff at Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services has reached City Council’s ears. The majority of Council members expressed a desire at Tuesday’s work session to increase that funding for next year, as requested by Selena Xie,…

County looks to expand jail-diversion programs

The Travis County Commissioners Court discussed the prospect Tuesday of expanding the scope of the Austin-Travis County Sobering Center to include aid (in the form of jail diversion) to those experiencing homelessness and mental health issues. Currently, the Sobering Center…

Downtown shootings bring plans to address violent crimes

Just over a month since a mass shooting incident on East Sixth Street killed one person and injured more than a dozen, the state of downtown safety is receiving special attention in a pair of public sessions offering differing views…

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Austin narrows down police chief candidates to seven finalists

The city of Austin has narrowed the pool of candidates for police chief down to seven. The finalists are: Joseph Chacon, interim Austin police chief since former Chief Brian Manley retired in March Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief, Oakland, Calif. Avery…

Austin announces new policy to release video footage of police shootings within 10 business days

The Austin Police Department says it will try to release video footage of incidents where police seriously injure or kill someone more quickly than in the past. Previously, the department’s policy was to release this footage within 60 days; the…

Council members seek better system to help troubled officers

In response to an audit that found Austin Police Department is using an outdated system to identify police officers in need of help, interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon told the City Council Audit & Finance Committee Wednesday that while his…

Audit finds APD failing officers who need help

The Austin Police Department’s system for identifying officers in need of help and connecting them with support or wellness services is failing both the officers and the department, according to an audit released Tuesday. The audit, which was conducted by…

Austin health officials recommend masking up indoors as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations spike

Austin Public Health is recommending everyone – including those who are vaccinated – wear a face covering indoors as Covid-19 cases continue rising in Austin and Travis County. Local Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes told a joint session of Travis…

EMS leader recounts medics' harrowing week during freeze

First responders are still in recovery mode as they plan for the next severe weather event, such as the freeze that gripped Austin in mid-February, and any other unforeseen disaster that may occur. “Our medics’ stories should be heard,” Austin…

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