AUSTIN (KXAN) — With Chief Art Acevedo out, another uncertainty facing the department is the contract between the city and its police officers. That was originally set for re-negotiation September of 2017.
The contract between the city of Austin and the Austin Police Association is an important one, it determine the pay, benefits, the hiring process for officers and citizen oversight of the police department.
Chief Acevedo’s predecessor, former Chief Stan Knee, says the contract will be crucial in setting the leadership of a new chief. “It really tells him how he can run his department and it really sets the limit on his authority in some cases, it also sets the limit on his operation, simply by the cost of the contract and the money that the city is able to provide to him,” Knee says.
The former chief says these are the top four things to look out for:
- From the city’s perspective: How much will the cost of the contract be?
- From the officer’s side: How much will their wages be enhanced?
- What kind of internal procedures will change, like how will promotions be given, appointed or be selected?
- How will the discipline process go?
“When I came here in ’96, we were actually negotiating the first contract and I came during those negotiations and I was able to insert several of the things I thought that were important to me education incentive field training officer incentives and things like that,” Knee says.
Knee thinks a new contract coupled with a new chief will help a new chief start off fresh. He says it will allow a new person to personalize things in the contract they feel strongly about and help set a new precedent and culture shift at the department.
“The contract was almost like a recipe book how you manage Public Safety and so it becomes very, very important.”