AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Austin city leaders scrutinized the Austin Police Department’s training, culture and leadership this year, those who expected to be a part of the 144th cadet class waited in limbo.
One of those cadets spoke with KXAN under the condition of anonymity.
“I just think it is so unfortunate,” she told us. “We stopped everything in our lives, because this is what they wanted to do.”
The move to cancel APD cadet classes through June 2021 capped off Austin’s budget process, and its initial phase of re-imagining public safety. Council members called the changes generational.
“This was only possible, because we’re in the midst of a local and national civil rights movement,” said Council Member Greg Casar.
But it also capped off several months of waiting for cadets, some of whom moved from other places like California, Florida and Washington D.C.
The cadet we spoke with said some of her fellow class members quit their jobs and uprooted their families, with plans to be part of the next wave of Austin police officers.
“I know a guy in my class said he had a newborn right when he moved here, so I can’t imagine the pressure that’s been put on them,” she told us.
The department would send the cadets emails over the last few months.
When the July class was canceled, the cadets were told “please hold your heads up high and keep your spirits up.”
Now that the decision regarding several future classes has been made, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said positions will be reshuffled to make up for the lack of new officers, and that the department will respond to 911 calls at the same level as it has.
“We will be making decisions on which officers will potentially transfer out of their units and back into patrol, understanding that patrol is our priority,” he said.
He added the cadets who moved from out of state were contacted and offered temporary jobs within the department.
The cadet we spoke with has family ties to APD. She says she’ll wait as long as it takes to join the department.
“I’ll find a full-time job, and whenever we get the green light again, I’ll be right there,” she said.