AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council approved moving forward with a “reimagined” Austin Police Department training academy Thursday.

The 144th cadet class is set to start June 7 and will be a pilot for the academy’s new curriculum, which includes recommendations from the city manager:

  • 30 more hours of community engagement programming
  • A two-week community immersion orientation program
  • Anti-racism training
  • A newly designed course on the history of police and regular physical fitness training
  • Fewer week-long blocks of technical course content to allow for more effective implementation of adult learning strategies
  • A formal process of community and civilian input into training content to ensure issues of racial equity and procedural justice are reflected in all aspects of cadet training

Council approved the city manager’s recommendations in March, which focused on building bonds with the community, ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion was woven into teachings and eliminating racial bias and discrimination within APD policies.

In addition to those suggestions, an independent consulting firm separate from the City of Austin is tasked with evaluating APD and giving feedback as the department goes through these changes with the pilot class. Representatives from the firm briefed council members on APD’s progress on Tuesday.

The 144th cadet class will be 34 weeks long. All of this is part of an effort from the City of Austin to “reimagine public safety” after protests broke out last summer in response to the murder of George Floyd and police brutality.