After budget cuts, police cadet classes could start in spring

Austin City Council immediately cut more than $20 million from the police department in August 2020 and is still deciding where another $128.8 million taken from the police budget will be spent. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council immediately cut more than $20 million from the police department in August 2020 and is still deciding where another $128.8 million taken from the police budget will be spent. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin City Council immediately cut more than $20 million from the police department in August 2020 and is still deciding where another $128.8 million taken from the police budget will be spent. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following a year in which City Council and the community vowed to “reimagine public safety,” the Austin Police Department will remain a focus in 2021 as city leaders zero in on police training and recruitment practices.

In August, Austin City Council unanimously supported a $21.5 million cut to the police budget, vowed to separate certain police department programs, such as the forensics lab, 911 dispatch and internal affairs into independent departments—worth $79.6 million—and targeted another $49.2 million in police operations and expenses for a potential overhaul.


The 2021 police cadet classes were included in the cuts, with City Council telling the police department significant changes had to be made to its training program before another cadet class could begin. No cadet class has started training since February 2020; however, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said, with the police force dwindling from retirements and resignations, he wants to see a spring cadet class. In January, an independent audit of the police academy raised concerns over a “militarized” training mentality.

This story is part of Community Impact Newspaper's Annual Community Guide, which takes a look at the biggest development, education, health care, education, government and local business stories for the year ahead.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


MOST RECENT

The project at Springdale Road and Airport Boulevard will feature two six-story office towers, a parking garage and several acres of rehabilitated green space. (Courtesy Gensler)
Springdale Green developers detail plans for recently approved East Austin office and restoration project

The site will include a pair of six-story office towers and nearly 20 acres of restored natural space with an expected completion date set for late 2023.

The Office of Police Oversight released its first comprehensive report detailing its operations though 2019 and 2020 this June. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Office of Police Oversight report finds complaints against Austin police officers went up, but discipline fell in 2020

The new report centers on the office's three main functions, including tracking APD officer discipline, reviewing the city's police policies, and engaging with Austin residents.

Volunteers of Austin Vaccine Angels gathered after becoming fully vaccinated. (Courtesy Jodi Holzband)
Grassroots groups aimed at vaccine outreach look toward the future

For the past five months, grassroots volunteer groups have been working to connect thousands of Central Texans to COVID-19 vaccines.

A 10-week construction project on North Pleasant Valley Road begins June 21. (Courtesy Fotolia)
North Pleasant Valley Road construction project in East Austin begins June 21

The project, funded by a 2018 Bond, will cause some lane closures

Washington Prime Group Inc. owns six area shopping centers, including The Arboretum. (Courtesy The Arboretum)
Owner of Austin-area shopping centers files for bankruptcy; entertainment complex coming to Cedar Park and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a woman and girl walking the trail with the Austin skyline behind them
Travis County commits to electrify fleet, doubles down on climate goals

Commissioners directed staff this week to develop a plan to fully electrify Travis County's fleet of vehicles, a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions for the county.

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The downtown Austin tower is 57% leased as of mid-June. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Downtown Austin's Indeed Tower sells to California real estate and development company in $580M deal

The newly-completed 36-story tower sold to Kilroy Realty Corp. for $580 million.

Austin's downtown Palm District is home to several modern and historic landmarks, including the Palm School building now home to Travis County offices. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents lay out priorities for new Palm District area plan with project's engagement period underway

Through the planning process, feedback from Austin community members will contribute to the drafting of a Palm District Small Area Plan to be finalized and adopted by city officials next year.

Project Connect's proposed Orange Line will run from Tech Ridge, through downtown Austin and to Slaughter Lane. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Project Connect Orange Line design reveals proposed locations for rail stations in North, South Austin

The latest Orange Line design shows potential elevated rail line over I-35, as well as options for the Drag.

Photo of a weird home
Austin's Weird Homes Tour says goodbye—for now

The tour's founders say they are open to a new local operator taking over the event.

The former hotel off I-35 had most recently been used as a COVID-19 homeless Protection Lodge. (Courtesy City of Austin)
East Cesar Chavez encampment residents move into former South Austin hotel

Through Austin's HEAL initiative, residents of an encampment near East Austin's Terrazas Branch Libarary were relocated to a South Austin shelter before that camp is cleared away.