AUSTIN – At Monday night’s Austin Public Safety Commission meeting there was much debate over how many more officers, if any, Austin needs to keep up with the city’s rapidly growing pace.
However, before the evening was done, commission members still didn’t get a concrete number they were hoping for before making a recommendation to the Austin City Council about adding officers.
“We have more and more special events that are occurring in the city and then obviously at times that creates a strain on the police department in terms of moving resources around,” Assistant Chief and Public Safety Commissioner David Carter said.
There are currently 1,740 active duty officers on APD’s force. Police Chief Art Acevedo has reportedly said that he’d like to see at least 116 new officers for 2014.
Public Safety Commissioners were tossing around a number of 150 potential new officers.
Data released Monday also shows that Austin’s officers are busier. In 2011, the average free time for an on-duty Austin police officer was 27 minutes. That went down to 15 minutes in 2012.
Before the evening was done, APD staff was directed to come back to the Public Safety Commission meeting in May with a more concrete number on exactly how many officers the City will need for 2014 and beyond.