APD says call 911 for all domestic violence cases, not 311

Austin

AUSTIN, TEXAS (KXAN) — After red flags were raised surrounding the Austin Police Department’s changes to routing non-emergency response services, APD is providing more insight on how it’ll be responding to domestic violence calls.

The department announced the policy change that took effect on Oct. 1 which directs crimes that are no longer in progress to 311 instead of 911.

The policy change left advocates for domestic violence victims concerned and asking questions.

“I could see a situation where a domestic violence victim might decide to call 311 because they don’t feel like it is a very dangerous situation, but just the mere fact of her or him, the victim picking up the phone to make the call, then things could get escalated,” SAFE Alliance VP of Community Services Coni Huntsman Stogner said of the change.

The Austin Police Department’s Director of Emergency Communication told KXAN Friday that wouldn’t be the case.

“The policy implementation on Oct. 1 has no effect on how APD responds to domestic violence calls, or calls involving violation of emergency protective orders, or any other order regarding domestic violence,” said Kenneth Murphy, Director of Emergency Communication.

Lt. Murphy added that any calls surrounding these types of crimes that do come into 311 will be rerouted to APD.

A Texas Council on Family Violence report shows a rise in domestic violence last year, with the highest on record in Texas.

The report also indicated that as many victims were killed with a firearm than all other means combined, accounting for 67% of the 228 homicides.

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