SAN, which also brought the public camping ordinance Proposition B to ballots earlier this year, began circulating a petition in May seeking support for a provision requiring at least two police officers for every 1,000 residents and doubling annual in-service training requirements for APD officers.
The measure would also require City Council members and their staffs to complete citizen police academy training.
State law requires petitions to receive signatures from at least 5% of a city's population, or at least 20,000 voters, for inclusion on a ballot. SAN announced Aug. 3 the city clerk had found 93% of 27,778 submitted names on the petition to be valid.
“We are pleased that the city certified our signed petitions and that we will now be placed directly on the Nov. 2 ballot. The upcoming election poses a stark choice for Austin voters: If you vote for our proposition, Austin will have adequate police staffing, the best trained police force in the nation and enact important police reforms. If you vote against our effort, we will continue to see the police staffing crisis worsen, violent crime skyrocket and our city become measurably less safe for every neighborhood," SAN co-founder Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek said in a statement.
More than two dozen local organizations came out against SAN's proposal after the PAC first announced the petition's viability July 19, saying the costs associated with the police staffing quota could divert funding from public health, homelessness solutions and other key areas. Austin Police Association President said in July that APD has about 1,650 sworn officers, or 1.66 per 1,000 residents based on 2020 U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
“This dangerous measure, if passed, would force the hiring of potentially 500 police officers, devastating essential city services and departments in the process," said Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, in an Aug. 3 statement.
The TCDP, Mayor Steve Adler, Austin Council Member Greg Casar, the Austin Justice Coalition and other local politicians and groups also shared a video Aug. 2 taking aim at SAN's claims.
"They say their measure is about police reform when it's really about devastating our city budget, all for the benefit of the police union," Casar said.