AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin City Council has approved a series of mid-year budget amendments related to Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) initiatives.
The changes, focused on realigning City services and resources to allow the Austin Police Department to focus on its core mission of law enforcement, include the creation of a new Emergency Communications Department to handle emergency calls, says the city of Austin.
"Today’s action allows us to take another step in creating public safety systems which remove barriers to access for everyone in the community while providing fast, equitable and appropriate response and resources to those who call for help in their time of need," said City Manager Spencer Cronk.
The new ECD allows for increased independence and provides an opportunity to streamline and provide continuous improvement in emergency communications including expanded public health and mental health response initiatives, says the city.
The accompanying budget amendment moves 222 full-time equivalent civilian positions out of APD as well as $16,085,640 out of the Decouple Fund into an annual budget for the ECD.
"My office and APD leadership are working together to develop a timeline for establishing this new department. Input from staff will be a key part of that process," said Cronk.
There will not be any immediate changes in day-to-day emergency communications operations as the city says the transition could take up to one year. The department will report to the Assistant City Manager for Public Safety.
The mid-year budget amendment also moves a number of administrative functions from APD to other city departments including:
- Transfers the positions and funding for the APD Alarm Administration Unit to the Development Services Department.
- Transfers APD Human Resources to the City’s general Human Resources Department.
- Transfers the APD Public Information Office to the Communication and Public Information Office.
- Transfers APD Facility Maintenance to the Building Services Department.
- Transfers APD Finance to the Financial Services Department.