Austin Police cadet class, homelessness spending presentations to go before city council Thursday


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what we’re following out of Thursday’s Austin City Council meeting:

Update on 144th cadet class

Some of the most important topics out of the meeting are not voting items. A consulting firm will give council its preliminary analysis of the Austin Police Department’s 144th cadet class, which is serving as a pilot for how APD will train officers moving forward.

The new, reimagined, revamped curriculum puts a big focus on de-escalation, more volunteering and community engagement opportunities for cadets and new courses on the history of race and policing in Austin as well as systemic inequities in policing. New Academy leadership will also aim to change the Academy’s culture. To accommodate the new content, the class was lengthened from 26 weeks to 34 weeks.

Kroll Associates, Inc. also reviewed APD’s former academy and developed a list of recommendations and goals for the department to implement in training academies moving forward.

Homelessness fundraising

Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division presented to the city council with an update on homelessness spending. Back in April a coalition of homeless advocates and city leaders set a goal to house 3,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in three years.

The latest report, posted online and to be presented Thursday, reveals more on the current funding gap. It calls for a total of $515 million over three years, with about $115 million still needed. It calls for 1,300 units of housing investment over the second and third year.

Read the full update here.

Vote on trail collaboration

The city will gradually turn over maintenance of the Hike and Bike Trail to the Trail Foundation, pending a vote by council. This would include turf and tree care, invasive removals, restroom maintenance and trail edge vegetation, according to council documents.

The Trail Foundation would also provide free family activities, nature-based programming for all-ages, cultural activations and public art and additional recreational opportunities. All earned revenue from special events and rentals will be used to directly benefit the park via operations, maintenance, programming or park improvements.

Community health workers and COVID-19 prevention

The city plans to use federal stimulus funds to help train, deploy and engage community health workers who would facilitate COVID-19 prevention and vaccine engagement opportunities, conduct door-to-door outreach and promote healthy lifestyle behaviors.

This would target individuals in Travis County’s Eastern Crescent to help address underlying social and chronic disease factors negatively impacting people in this area. Five organizations will provide services as part of this grant: The University of Texas Dell Medical School, CommUnityCare, People’s Community Clinic, Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Foundation Communities.

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