AUSTIN, Texas - A partnership between the Austin Police Department (APD) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) began on March 30.
On April 18, city council was briefed on how the partnership with APD and DPS is going.
"DPS is here to help. They're not here to take over," said Chief Joseph Chacon with APD.
Chief Chacon says there are more than 300 vacant officer positions and that number grows every day. He says this partnership between APD and DPS is proving to be extremely valuable when it comes to keeping Austin safe during the staffing shortage.
The number of DPS troopers deployed varies every week, but Chief Chacon says a sizable presence is assigned to the city to help police with two objectives.
"The first is to assist us with our traffic enforcement. The second part of the objective is reducing violence and particularly gun related violence," said Chief Chacon.
APD data from the first two weeks of this partnership was presented to Mayor Kirk Watson and council members.
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"The initial evidence suggests DPS patrol is reducing violent crime in the city," said Dr. Jonathan Kringen, Chief Data Officer for APD.
Compared to the same week last year, data shows violent crime decreased by 25% citywide for the first week of the dps partnership and decreased by 31% in the second week. Response times for emergency calls for assistance also decreased.
"They decreased by nearly 2 minutes in the first week of the deployment. That held relatively strongly at a minute and 33 second reduction in the second week as compared to the previous period," said Dr. Kringen.
It was revealed DPS has worked in at least seven of the nine sectors in the city so far. In the first two weeks, 4016 traffic stops were conducted.
Chief Chacon says, although DPS does not follow APD policy, DPS policy does align with APD's.
APD hopes to present DPS stats and numbers weekly.