Public Safety Commission, City of Austin to hold special meeting to discuss license plate readers

The Public Safety Commission for the City of Austin will have a special called meeting this month to discuss license plate readers, as well as the 3-1-1 system and 9-1-1 call centers.

Both were originally on the Monday, May 1 agenda, but the meeting took a different route when APD Chief Joseph Chacon addressed commissioners.

"I’m just going to be very direct and let you all know that I did not come prepared today to talk about LPRs or anything else that’s on the agenda," said Chief Chacon. "I wanted to be here today to kind of explain where I think that the relationship between APD and this commission has broken down and how some of the conversations that have happened in here have not just been contentious, but inappropriate toward either police employees, toward police staff, and at times even some of the vendors that are working with the police department…and quite honestly if it continues to happen in the future I will remove my staff from the meeting."

Chief Chacon said a recent meeting with the commission chair was productive, and he hopes to move forward.

"We did have a productive meeting on Friday, and I did feel good about it, and I expressed that I was ready for us to reset because we have a lot of conversations to have," said Nelly Paulina Ramírez, chair of the commission. "I am disappointed that I am finding out right this second in the middle of a live meeting that you aren’t going to be participating in our meeting."

Further discussion on license plate readers was postponed as well as discussion of 3-1-1 and 9-1-1.  Both items will be discussed during a special called meeting that will take place before the May 18 city council meeting. 

During the May 18 meeting, council is expected to "authorize negotiation and execution of a contract for license plate reader camera systems and services" with a vendor.