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Even with soaring overtime costs, APD spends below budget

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 by Jo Clifton

As of September 2022, the Austin Police Department had 280 vacancies in its sworn staff. Of those, 99 were the result of retirements, according to Jason Matson, the department’s research and planning division manager. He said the department had budgeted for 1,809 positions, but only 1,529 of those were filled by late September. Matson reported to the Public Safety Commission Monday that the department had spent more than $21 million on officer overtime, compared with an overtime budget of $5.8 million. However, with that factor in mind, he noted that the department had spent only $318 million in the past year compared to its budget of $335 million. A class of 56 new officers is scheduled to graduate in mid-November, but they will not be full-fledged officers until several more months of on-the-job training, and another eight officers from other jurisdictions are also undergoing training to join APD. The vacancy rate among 911 call operators is even more dire, Matson reported, noting that they have a vacancy rate of 48 percent. However, he told the commission that vacancy rates are very high among 911 call takers in most other parts of the country also.

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