Austin's growth poses challenges for APD

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 27, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 28 at 3:11 PM

AUSTIN -- Last week, Forbes Magazine named Austin the fastest growing city in the nation, again, stating that with growth comes opportunity.

It also comes with an increased work force for the police department. Chief Art Acevedo spoke to KVUE News about the challenges.

"This is the fastest growing city in the country. I think it's been the fastest growing region for many years now," said Acevedo.

Forbes says the fastest growing city in America now has a metro population of 1.8 million people. That is up from 1.2 million in 2000.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says he runs a lean department, and with with growth comes challenges.

"Despite our leanness, we do a very good job when it comes to combating violent crime. But our lower level crimes, it's still very tough," Acevedo told KVUE. "We have to choose between sending somebody to people fighting, an armed robbery in progress, sexual assault in progress, a shooting in progress."

He says it is also difficult when they catch people for crimes, but juries give them a pass.

"If we don't catch up and start thinking about holding people accountable, especially when you have this lean organization, we are not going to be able to maintain the quality of life that we are used to."

Acevedo says population is not the only growth to watch. The annexation of Circuit of the Americas to Austin will bring additional responsibilities to the department. He says APD has to look at the transient numbers and the visitor population, and he plans to discuss that with the city council in the upcoming months.

Three other Texas cities made the Forbes top 20 list. Dallas ranked second, Houston third, and San Antonio ninth.

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