AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department gave a first look at its reimagined Cadet Academy Wednesday. The 144th cadet class is serving as a pilot for how APD will train new officers moving forward.
“I hope that everyone is as open minded as our class, and APD officers are for the new change that we are bringing in,” said cadet Jodean Dixon.
The Academy began Monday. The first week is focused on community engagement with a variety of speakers.
“Every day they’ve got a different set of community stakeholders that they’re meeting with,” Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said of the first week.
Cadets are also visiting some community members. Cadet Demond Kitt said a trip to the Boys and Girls Club Tuesday was impactful.
“That was a very fantastic time with those young kids. A lot of them have previous traumas with law enforcement,” Kitt said.
The Academy will bring in guest instructors throughout the next several months to help teach and is also offering opportunities for anyone in the community to meet the cadets and tell them what should be done differently.
A consulting firm, city leaders and review panels will all monitor the pilot class and provide regular feedback for ongoing changes.
“And then we’re being accountable by then presenting what we’ve actually done with their feedback,” said Dr. Anne Kringen, APD Training Academy Division Manager. “Both with written feedback, as well as presenting monthly.”
The department will also hear from trainers and cadets themselves.
“Everything that we’ve been doing, they’ve been giving us surveys,” Kitt said. “They want to know how we feel as well.”
If you’d like to meet the 144th Cadet Class, you can do so next week. APD is holding a Community Meet and Greet event on Tuesday, June 15 at Edward Rendon Sr. Park from 4 to 6:30 p.m.