Naked City

Safety First

On Aug. 6, city staff presented the City Council with the major recommendations of the 19-member Public Safety Task Force, which has spent the past five months reviewing the city's strategies for protecting against and dealing with major emergencies. Consisting of law enforcement, health service professionals, and a host of other security-minded stakeholders, the task force developed recommendations for council's consideration. Among the highlights: hiring 75 new APD officers each year for the next four years, and opening up a city-run urgent care facility to relieve emergency room strain at Brackenridge Hospital.

"The task force identified public safety staffing as their number one priority," said Assistant City Manager Laura Huffman. Sixty new officers are already allotted for in the proposed budget, Huffman noted, adding that she's not certain whether a cash-strapped council will endorse 15 additional officers. The staff increase would bring the city ratio up to 2.0 -- two officers for every 1,000 residents -- and would also facilitate the staffing of the two new area commands in North Central and South Central Austin, she said.

On the public health front, the new clinic to offset Brackenridge's emergency services would operate 24/7, Huffman said, and would take the least-urgent cases out of the emergency room, as a "way to alleviate traffic." With the officer increase still up in the air, the city is already moving forward on creating the clinic. Neither the projected cost of the facility nor its intended location was readily available.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
APD Brass Shifts Up, Down, Across
Musical chairs at Downtown HQ

May 9, 2014

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle