APD asking for more officers, civilian jobs


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE


Posted on March 7, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 7 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- An increase in crashes is one of the big reasons Austin police are pushing for more staff during budget meetings. They say the roads are getting more dangerous because of the large number of people moving to Austin.

Jason Lozada has lived in Austin more than 20 years. He's watched it grow and change.

"It used to be you could skip I-35 and go to MoPac, but really during rush hour it's not much different now," Lozada said. 

Chief Art Acevedo says congested roads are only part of the concern for APD.

"We have to make sure the police department grows at a rate that keeps up with growth in population, growth in geography," Acevedo said.

"Look at the sheer number of people moving to this city," said Assistant Chief David Carter.

Carter says the latest projections show nearly a thousand people move to Austin every week.

"I've seen estimates from 1,000 a week to 150 a day. That clearly poses a challenge for APD," he said.

This week Carter began budget talks with City leaders. Carter says within the next five years the department needs at least 155 officers, 78 detectives and 24 sergeants. They also need to fill civilian jobs such as analysts and a civilian firearms instructor. 

"There's a proposal to try, based on population growth, to bring in an additional 47 police officer positions coming in for the next fiscal year," said Carter. 

Ryan Robinson tracks growth in Austin for the City.

"In the next four or five years we will easily become the 11th largest (city) in the country," Robinson said.

Carter says manpower is the key to combat the challenges than come with the population growth.

Lozada expressed a different concern.

"As long as we don't lose our culture, I think that's important thing," said Lozada.