AUSTIN (KXAN) — Now that the Austin Police Department is currently staffed at 100 percent in response to the Dallas attack, the city has to technically declare an “emergency” to make sure every patrol shift is fully staffed.
In a memo from APD Chief of Police Art Acevedo to the Austin Police Association (APA) on Tuesday, Acevedo says if there are not enough volunteers to fill the shifts, officers will be “mandated to fill the remaining shifts.” The department will remain in this “emergency posture” for the next 14 days and the situation will be reassessed to see if the extra staffing is needed.
According to Local Government Code, this staffing initiative is an emergency because it is an “unexpected happening or event or an unforeseen situation or crisis that calls for immediate action” that requires officers to work overtime. Officers cannot take more than 36 overtime hours a week.
“It’s been very concerning, for the last year, we’ve been somewhere between 60-70 percent staffing on a regular basis for patrol shifts,” APA President Ken Casaday said of the 176 job openings. “I think the officers needed it, the citizens needed it.”
Since violent crimes usually increase during the summer months, Acevedo says he plans to keep the volunteer 100 percent overtime through at least August.
Overtime funding will come from APD’s existing overtime budget.