Austin Police Association fears officer shortage if contract negotiations don't pull through

Contract negotiations between the city and Austin police are at a fever pitch right now on what is set to be the final day of talks between both sides.

AUSTIN - Contract negotiations between the city and Austin police are at a fever pitch right now on what is set to be the final day of talks between both sides.

According to KVUE and Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski, the big questions are whether or not they'll come back to the table and what happens if they can't reach a deal at all? 

This comes at a time when some civic groups -- including some leaders of the Travis County Democratic Party -- are urging the city not to sign a contract with the police at all until certain demands are met.

Some of the consequences of not having a contract would mean hiring and promotions for Austin police officers would be affected and civilians, who are part of the police monitor's office, would lose access to investigative records.

READ MORE: City of Austin and APD set for final negotiations on working conditions

And now, police are warning that with no contract,dozens of officers may retire before the end of the month, leaving the department short-staffed. Without a contract, they stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars in sick time payouts. The contract now calls for officers to get paid up to 1,700 hours in unused sick time. 

Members of the Austin Justice Coalition said they think a proposed contract does not do enough for citizens and instead favors the police.

Thursday night the Travis County Democratic Party is expected to consider a proposed resolution rejecting a proposed contract.

The current contract expires Oct. 31. If no deal is reached by then, both sides may declare an impasse and bring in an outside mediator to help find a resolution.

According to a draft party resolution under consideration the party, "[It] strongly encourages the city of Austin to take all steps necessary to improve accountability, transparency, and civilian oversight of law enforcement, including rejecting any new agreement with the Austin Police Association."

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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