AUSTIN, Texas - Austin police cadet classes will be resuming in June.
The Austin City Council has approved moving forward with a reimagined APD training academy, with the 144th cadet class serving as a pilot class.
"I think the cadet classes are one of our chances to embed cultural change agents and increase diversity. I also believe we can move forward because there are significant changes that have been made," said Mayor Steve Adler.
The next cadet class will be the first to complete training with the Academy's new curriculum and expanded community engagement programming, including:
- 30 more hours of community engagement programming
- a two-week community immersion orientation program
- anti-racism training
- a newly designed course on the history of police
- regular physical fitness training
- fewer week-long blocks of technical course content to allow for more effective implementation of adult learning strategies
- a formal process of community and civilian input into training content to ensure that issues of racial equity and procedural justice are reflected in all aspects of cadet training
The 144th Academy will be 34 weeks long and is expected to begin on June 7. Kroll & Associates, an independent consultant will continue to evaluate APD’s readiness to launch and implementation of the pilot class, says the city.
"I want you to know that I will work to hold these officers accountable in order to ensure Austin gets back to having one of the best police departments," said District 6 Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly.
The council approved the class under Council Member Alison Alter's amendments, which call for the city to periodically check on the 34-week training to see if all reimagined protocols are being followed. "We are authorizing a pilot, we are not authorizing cadet academies to perpetuity if the reforms are not seriously implemented," said Alter.
The vote was, 9-1-1, with 9 voting yes, Natasha Harper-Madison abstaining and Greg Casar voting no,
"The fact that the first curriculum review committee meeting was this week and there is still some distrust there about whether or not the things we are trying to get done will get done, it keeps me in the same place I was in the last vote," said Casar.
The reimagined academy is an outcome of City Council Resolution 20191205-066 with a core focus on eliminating racial bias, bigotry, and discrimination in APD policies, practices, and behaviors, says the city.
The resolution directed City Manager Spencer Cronk to conduct an audit of recruitment and training policies, procedures, protocols and materials for cadets and officers, develop a plan for continuing education for officers and management training for supervisors on eliminating racial bias, and to delay the start of a cadet class until this work was completed.
In March, the City Council approved the City Manager’s blueprint for the reimagined academy, which outlined a collaborative and iterative process of transforming the academy and creating a core focus on community input, emphasizing servant leadership, and curriculum and teaching methods that infused with diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The resolution is part of the founding reforms under the Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) framework.