AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says there will be an increased police presence in downtown Austin starting tonight.
In a press conference about recent events, including a woman APD says stabbed multiple people on Neches Street Thursday night, Manley said the Austin Police Department will be assigning more officers to the entertainment district, with some working overtime.
"We were already working on additional plans for security in the city based on recent incidents and also leading up to the upcoming spring music festival," APD Chief Manley said. "What the community can expect to see immediately is an increased presence in the entertainment district beginning tonight. We're working to get additional officers coming in on an overtime basis, and we will work to do that throughout this weekend, having additional APD officers that will be working through this weekend."
Manley says that Austin police will be concentrating their efforts in the downtown and business areas between Cesar Chavez and 11th streets and between I-35 and Congress Avenue, as they did after South by Southwest last year. "What we're working on is plans for the weeks leading up to the music festivals, and what we will be doing for that is bringing in additional resources from the police department as we've done in the past," Manley said. "We will have units from the Organized Crime division, from our Metro Tactical divisions, we will be staffed to 100% plus additional officers. We will have more officers on bikes than as normal."
Manley also said that APD has reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety and that DPS has committed no fewer than 20 troopers to assist APD in these efforts.
Manley said APD will be working with DPS to integrate them into the longer-term plan, but do expect that there will be troopers in and around the entertainment district and in vehicles and on horseback and motorcycles.
"We are going to take a very strong stance against what has been an increasing level of assaults that we have seen so far this year," Manley said.
Manley said as of June 2019, Austin was down 9 percent in violent crime, but ended the year at zero percent. Manley also asked the community that "if you see something, say something."
Manley also addressed Austin police's new gun surrender program as well as the recent vote by Austin City Council concerning low-level marijuana cases.