AUSTIN (KXAN) — Friday, 67 new officers will graduate from Austin’s 141st and 142nd cadet classes. The officers come at a time when APD faces nearly 200 vacancies.
With the new class, Chief Brian Manley says the department will be down to 122 vacancies.
However, the future of cadet classes remains unclear. That’s because before the June cadet class can take place, an audit into APD’s hiring protocols must be completed.
The department loses between 5 and 7 officers a month due to retirement, Manley said.
Last month, city council voted unanimously to approve an investigation into alleged racism within the police department following several allegations.
One anonymous complaint was filed with Austin’s Office of Police Oversight, alleging that Former Assistant Chief Justin Newsom used racist and derogatory language toward African Americans for years. Newsom retired the day after the complaint was listed as being filed.
Another complaint claims Chief Brian Manley supported Assistant Chief Troy Gay in forcing someone outside the department to attend Christian gay conversion therapy.
“The fact of the matter is, it’s better to take our time and do it right than do it wrong,” Greg Casar, district 4 council member said about the ongoing investigation. “We’ve heard testimony from former cadets themselves about the real problems we’ve had in the training and hiring process, and we need to listen to those voices, so it’s really important for us when we are training or bringing folks into the department that we are installing the Austin values of fighting against racial disparities and all its forms,” he said.
Overall, city staff said they’re making progress. They expect the third-party investigation, by San Antonio attorney Lisa Tatum, to wrap up in February.
APD staff said the February cadet class is on track to graduate. As for the 141st and 142nd cadet classes graduating Friday, the traditional Chief’s Run was canceled due to weather. APD staff said they do not have plans to reschedule it.
Friday also marks the last day for potential cadets to apply for the June 144th cadet class.