AUSTIN, Texas - Austin police announced Tuesday their safety measures for the next several weeks as voters cast their ballots across the city.
As voter tension and safety are a concern for some, APD said they haven’t had any specific threats to polling locations here in the city. But, also said they are not having officers stationed or actively monitoring those locations.
Austin Assistant Police Chief Joe Chacon said officers on patrol are made aware of polling locations, and if time is allowed during their shift, they can drive by and monitor the scene.
“However, they are not there to take any other action besides that,” Chacon said.
That action would be left up to the election judge at the specific polling location. Chacon added judges can call APD in those instances and they will respond accordingly.
“We want to make sure that people have the ability to exercise their first amendment, or their constitutional right, to go and be able to cast a vote,” he said. “And be able to do it in safety without intimidation.”
Chacon said with the expectation of large crowds, come the week of November 3rd, the department will be on tactical alert. Meaning, all officers will be in uniform ready to respond in case of any incident that may occur. “I can certainly tell you APD will be prepared should something like that pop up unannounced,” he said.
Chacon said though tactical alert isn’t uncommon. He said the department will go on this for large events like ACL and SXSW when there is an expected large crowd presence.