AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the Austin Police Department is on track to restart the cadet academy on June 7.
The mayor said on Tuesday that City of Austin officials received a staff briefing concerning the start of the reimagined cadet class. In March, the City Council approved a plan for a reimagined cadet training academy, including a new curriculum and greater diversity in both students and instructors, subject to a review that included Tuesday's briefing.
Adler released the following statement regarding where APD stands on restarting the cadet academy in June:
"Today we are one step closer to meeting the requirements the City Council imposed prior to any re-start of police cadet classes. I believe we will be in a position to start a June 7 cadet class, consistent with the city manager’s blueprint and the mandated reform process.
"When the Austin City Council made its commitment to the community last summer to conduct an in-depth review of our police academy we did so with very specific goals in mind. We wanted to ensure our city would provide trusted public safety for all communities. One key aspect of earning that trust was to reimagine the curriculum and training materials, and to achieve greater diversity among cadets and instructors. We are making progress to ensure that our cadets are more specifically trained to be guardians of public safety for all members of our community."
In May 2020, City Manager Spencer Cronk postponed the scheduled June 2020 cadet class for an audit of the training materials, which was delayed because of the scope of work and the unanticipated impact of the citywide response to COVID-19.
Then in August 2020, when the council approved a new budget that moved about $150 million from the police department, that slashed funding for three cadet classes.
The last class of cadets graduated in October 2020 after a 32-week training program.
In April 2021, a new coalition, the Austin Coalition to Protect Public Safety, said current APD staffing levels are what they were in 2010. Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly, a member of the coalition, said the department had 116 vacancies as of April 13.
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