In mild of group backlash, a revised partnership between the Austin Police Division and the Texas Division of Public Security resumed this month after a pause in Might.
The partnership was initially launched in March resulting from a staffing scarcity within the Austin Police Division however was placed on pause after Gov. Greg Abbott diverted DPS state troopers to the Texas-Mexico border. Nevertheless, the partnership drew criticism after a report from the Travis County Lawyer’s Workplace discovered that of the individuals arrested by DPS officers, 65% had been Latino and 23% had been Black.
“What we noticed, particularly on the East Aspect and in lots of communities of shade, had been that they felt focused,” mentioned Zohaib “Zo” Qadri, metropolis council member for District 9. “From what I’ve heard from different council districts and from constituents from these respective districts is that they virtually felt like they had been dwelling in a surveillance state.”
The partnership was a product of Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick working collectively to deal with Austin policing shortages. In line with the Metropolis of Austin web site, the core objectives of the partnership are to “cut back APD response time to Austinites inserting 911 emergency requires service, to cut back incidents of violent crime, and to cut back the variety of deadly and damage crashes on our roadways.” Reviews on the partnership embody emergency calls and collisions.
In earlier reporting by The Every day Texan, Jonathan Kringen, APD chief knowledge officer, mentioned that violent crime decreased by 58% in areas the place DPS was deployed. Because the partnership resumes, it was introduced that modifications can be made to how DPS state troopers can be deployed to accommodate the criticism that sure minority teams felt focused.
In line with a June 22 press launch, state troopers would now not deal with areas of excessive name quantity, however can be directed on the APD’s discretion to 3 areas of want. These areas embody excessive visitors quantity, excessive quantities of violent crime and patrol sectors the place there’s a scarcity of APD officers. It additionally said that APD management would attend shift briefings every week with DPS to check-in.
“The partnership with DPS has already confirmed helpful to decreasing crime and shortening response occasions,” APD police Chief Joseph Chacon mentioned within the press launch. “This new iteration will guarantee we proceed that whereas taking Council path into consideration and pivoting the deployment technique.”
The press launch additionally said that “DPS felony investigators and crime analysts can even help Austin Police in violent crime investigations and efforts to cut back gun crime.”
Qadri mentioned that he’s undecided but how this new iteration of the partnership will go, however that it isn’t a long-term resolution. He mentioned he hopes that the Metropolis Council negotiates a long-term contract with the policing union to allow them to begin filling in APD vacancies following the passing of Proposition A on this previous Might’s election, giving Metropolis Council extra police oversight.
“I feel it’s about attending to the negotiating desk in good religion with the police affiliation and getting a longer-term contract,” Qadri mentioned.