WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Some Austin police officers who chose to retire amid a contract lapse are finding a new home in Williamson County. And it’s not because the sheriff’s office is “actively recruiting or stealing from APD,” according to Sheriff Robert Chody.
In the past week, Chody has sworn in at least two former APD officers who retired early because the city and police union could not come to an agreement. On Monday, he posted photos on Twitter of the ceremonies with Robert Hightower and Jason Borne, hiring them as reserve deputies. KXAN has done multiple stories on Borne and his efforts to give back to the community. Chody says a number of others have called, texted or reached out on social media about current and future openings with the sheriff’s office. He says he has “the highest respect” for APD interim Chief Brian Manley and APD officers, and says the city only has itself to blame for APD officers switching to becoming Williamson County Sheriff’s deputies.
“If the City Council continues to have what I would define as an unappreciative attitude towards those who protect their city, well they can continue to pay to train them, pay them to get some years of experience and when they (APD officers) realize the city council doesn’t support them and they jump ship. I will hire them if openings and criteria are met,” Chody shared in a tweet Monday night. “It’s a Win win for WilCo.”
Currently, Austin police officers are operating under a civil service law, which provides less pay and changes how the department can recruit. At the beginning of December, the City Council voted to not approve a contract negotiated with the Austin Police Association because of fiscal issues and concerns about accountability and transparency. The APA decided to not renegotiate immediately and instead let officers work under the civil service law.
More than 30 Austin police officers decided to retire before the end of December in light of that decision.