AUSTIN (KXAN) — More training resources are needed to help fill current vacancies and projected future staffing at Austin-Travis County EMS, Austin Police and Austin Fire, according to a city memo released last week.
The memo, written by Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano, included updates on the vacancy staffing plans for each department.
Current data listed in the memo shows each department having over 100 roles vacant, with APD having close to 200. ATCEMS has the highest vacancy rate when compared to authorized sworn positions at 22.4%.
The memo said difficulties in filling vacancies come from recruitment and training capacity. There are limits on training capacity due to the time required to train cadets, the staff needed for training and challenges with scheduling classrooms at the Public Safety Training Center to accommodate multiple cadet classes.
The memo noted sworn staffers are needed to staff cadet classes, but current vacancies are creating more issues in doing that.
AFD and ATCEMS both said there’s a need for more training space and resources, according to the memo.
The memo also included projected staffing needs for each department for the next few years. According to the table, by Fiscal Year 2027, Austin Police is expected to need 2074 positions, compared to 1809 for Fiscal Year 2022.
Right now, details on how much money would be needed to create and fill all those positions are not available yet. A fiscal impact evaluation hasn’t been done due to ongoing contract negotiations, the memo said.
The memo said for Austin Police, recruiting and training capacity needs to increase by 75% in Fiscal Year 2024 to reduce vacancies and increase sworn staff size based on its projection.
More recommendations on how to meet the departments’ staffing needs will be included in the Fiscal Year 2023 proposed budget presentation set for July 15.