Austin police on pace to be nearly fully staffed by 2018, leaders say


Highlights

In June, Austin police had a 144-officer deficit; that deficit is about 96 now.

Austin police have 96 cadets set to graduate in December.

Austin police remain on pace to be staffed at nearly 100 percent by the end of the year, department leaders said Monday.

Assistant Chief Troy Gay said police managed to cut a 144-officer deficit by nearly half with a class of about 70 cadets who completed their training at the police academy in June.

Three months later, the department has 96 cadets spread between two classes that will graduate in December.

“Current vacancies, we’re sitting at 96, which is why if (the cadets) graduated today, we would be at 100 percent,” Gay said.

To hit that number, every cadet going through the academy would have to finish, and no officers currently employed by the department could leave.

Austin police can’t overhire, so the department will always have some vacancies as officers retire or leave the force.

RELATED: Austin police try new recruiting tactics to bolster, diversify ranks

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said the department loses four or five officers every month through attrition, so the department won’t be fully staffed, but it will be very close when the next cadet classes earn their badges.

Gay put the number at about 99 percent, with an estimated vacancy count of 16 to 20 officers.

At the beginning of June, vacancies within the department were tallied at 144, police said.

The shortfall prompted police commanders to tap detectives and other nonpatrol officers for duty on patrol shifts while authorities ramped up recruitment efforts.

Gay said aggressive recruiting and a new online application process allowed the department to bring in a good number of cadets for its 2017 academies.

“We feel that we will be in a very good position in January,” Gay said. “The staffing levels have not been that low in a very long period of time.”

Gay said the increase in officers should have a positive effect on both response times and Austin’s crime rate.

According to police records, the violent crime rate rose about 3 percent during the first seven months of 2017, and the city saw an 11 percent increase in 2016 over 2015.

EARLIER COVERAGE: Austin police aiming to remedy staffing woes, be fully staffed by 2018

While authorities are working to right the ship and return the force to full power, the department plans to continue growing over the next five years from roughly 1,900 officers to 2,237. The department also plans to carve out an 11th police sector by 2022.

“I think that one of the best deterrents to crime is a visible police presence,” Manley said. “It sets the tone that there is a (high) likelihood of being caught.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Austin police seek info from public on crash that killed mom, teen on U.S. 183
Austin police seek info from public on crash that killed mom, teen on U.S. 183

Austin police detectives are trying to piece together the events that led up to a head-on collision on U.S. 183 last Saturday that left two dead and two injured. Police said 41-year-old Guy Brasted was headed north in the 9400 block of Research Boulevard, a stretch of the highway where the north and southbound lanes are separated by steel cables, rather...
Sheriff’s summit aims to help churches focus on security measures
Sheriff’s summit aims to help churches focus on security measures

Law enforcement officials in Williamson County will be giving local churches information on how to protect their congregations during a security summit Sunday. The meeting comes in the wake of the deadly shooting during services Nov. 5 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, where a gunman killed 26 people and injured 20 more. Williamson...
BREAKING: State alcohol regulators investigating death of Texas State student
BREAKING: State alcohol regulators investigating death of Texas State student

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is investigating the death of a 20-year-old Texas State University student who was found dead on Monday after a fraternity event the night before. Sophomore Matthew Ellis was pronounced dead at 12:28 p.m. at the off-campus Millennium Apartments, according to San Marcos police. “This is an incredibly tragic...
NASA to launch JPSS-1 weather satellite Saturday morning
NASA to launch JPSS-1 weather satellite Saturday morning

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, will launch a satellite Saturday that will help improve weather forecasts. The satellite launch was scheduled for earlier this week, but was postponed twice, once because of high winds and once because of technical difficulties. The launch for the JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled at 4:47 a.m. Saturday, according to...
You’ve got one more day to see Waller Creek’s ‘Creek Show.’ Here’s what you’ll miss if you pass
You’ve got one more day to see Waller Creek’s ‘Creek Show.’ Here’s what you’ll miss if you pass

Waller Creek is alight. But only for two more nights.  The Waller Creek Conservancy’s fourth annual “Creek Show” will light up downtown for the last night Saturday, and if you haven’t made your way out for a self-led tour yet, you’re missing quite a sight.  Check out some of the images of the show Instagram users...
More Stories