AUSTIN (KXAN) — CapMetro is expected to finish construction on its upcoming police department in the coming year, officials announced at a Monday afternoon board meeting.
The transit authority announced a $3 million, 7.5-year lease of a 9,200-square-foot space on Cameron Road back in December. The facility is set to be a temporary headquarters until CapMetro finds a more permanent location for its police department.
Under current estimates, work on the building will finish in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023-24 — for reference, the first fiscal quarter runs from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
Eric Robins currently serves as CapMetro’s transit police administrator. Once the police department is certified and comes online, he’ll serve as police chief.
Robins told CapMetro’s board Monday the department is eyeing 46 sworn staff and 11 civilian staff personnel by FY27. Transit officers will serve as one leg of CapMetro’s public safety program, which includes public safety ambassadors and intervention specialists.
The announcement comes nearly two years after the CapMetro board authorized the creation of a police department in August 2021. Currently, CapMetro is hiring personnel to its police force and awaiting authorization from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
Some of the policy areas CapMetro police will be trained in include vehicle pursuits, missing person cases, domestic and family violence cases as well as response to resistance and use of force scenarios. Robins said CapMetro advisory committee members will review proposed policy outlines and offer feedback and input before a final list is compiled.
On the ambassador end of things, the program launched in October 2021 and helps respond to lost children, criminal trespass, loitering and suspicious activity cases. Once built out, the ambassador network will incorporate three shifts of eight ambassadors alongside one manager and three field supervisors.
“Starting a police department is no small task but it is desperately and so very, very needed for CapMetro,” Robins said. “And not only for CapMetro, but the safety of our citizens, our riders and, most importantly, our staff and our bus operators.”