City Council agrees to add 2 more officers

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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During the Austin City Council’s work session last night, the council agreed to the hiring of two more  police officers.

The move came after a report by Police Chief David McKichan giving an update on the police staffing situation, which in the past few years has been difficult to maintain.

McKichan said that as of Monday, following the swearing in of two officers, the force sits technically at 32, below the current staffing limit of 34.

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However, McKichan also said that he would like to see a police force consisting of 36 officers, indicating that he would have requested as much in this year’s budgeting process for 2024.

“At 36, it makes us much more efficient,” McKichan said. 

An initial vote calling for 36 officers, while still only budgeting for 34 officers failed in a 4-3 vote. The reasoning for budgeting for just 34 was based on staffing levels for APD rarely exceeding 34 officers in the past, however, it was pointed out that there could be an issue in budgeting if the department ever reaches 36 officers.  

A second motion that opted to budget for 36 officers in 2024 passed unanimously will ensure that situation is evened out.

In other news:

• The City Council, during its regular meeting, voted to pull the addition of sidewalks from a project on Fifth and Sixth Avenues NW from 19th to 20th Street after citizens complained that they hadn’t been full appraised of the project and questioned the need for the sidewalks, something that many on the board questioning if it was worth pushing if the citizens didn’t want it.

However, at the same time, some on the board question if maybe revisiting the Compete Streets Policy, which requires sidewalks be added with projects, is warranted.