Police budget proposal to Reconstruct and Deconstruct

Only City Council members and authorized staff are allowed to post on this message board.
Jimmy Flannigan
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:44 am

Police budget proposal to Reconstruct and Deconstruct

Post by Jimmy Flannigan » Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:56 am

Colleagues,

Here are two significant proposals to consider as part of the budget process. These are not small ideas and will take time and strong commitment to implement, but I believe we can adopt this formally as a whole and/or as budget riders in parts to ensure the public knows our intent while we work through the legal and operational transition.

The establishment of departments is part of the Council’s responsibility as defined in the Charter. I also believe these are compatible with other proposals that may be offered.

Proposal 1: Reconstruct

Reconstruct the "Austin Police Department" into distinct departments with independent department heads (some sworn) with civilian executive leadership in the Manager’s office. This should also eliminate some of the existing APD executive leadership positions. In part, this concept is a response to requirements in state law that mandate sworn staff have a sworn “department head” but do not require a single Chief.

This could shift more than $90 million from under the control of sworn leadership to civilian leadership and allow for each department to have separate metrics and oversight, thereby creating a way to shift organizational culture and drive outcomes. The size of these departments is more in-line with the size of other city departments, putting them on-par in terms of organizational influence. It would also mean that dollars allocated to one area of operations could *not* be reallocated to another without council-approval of a budget amendment (and therefore public review).

Please consider this proposal a starting point – there are lots of potential ways to break this structure down. We will also need the budget office to determine final numbers, as these are estimates based on high-level budget documents. Here is a break down of the potential proposed departments:

*** Department of Emergency Communications & Technology 
- Civilian Director of Emergency Communications 
- Budget of approx. $65mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Responsible for 9-1-1/CTECC, regional intelligence, records management, forensics, and emergency-specific technology

*** Department of Patrol
- Sworn Director of Patrol designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law). This department head could be designated as one of the 5 commanders that make up a geographically broad “Commander’s Council” to help democratize patrol leadership, ensure more diverse voices are making state-law-required decisions, and ensure a ready list of alternative department heads if necessary.
- Budget of approx. $197mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Responsible for DTAC & 4 Regions of patrol, tactical, and district reps 

*** Department of Investigations 
- Sworn Director of Investigations designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law).  
- Budget of approx. $95mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Responsible for detectives, investigations, and organized crime units

*** Department of Traffic Safety 
- Sworn Director of Traffic Safety designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law).  
- Budget of approx. $25mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Works in partnership with the Austin Transportation Department and should have mobility-focused civilian executive management in the Manager’s office

*** Department of Professional Standards
- Sworn Director of Professional Standards designated by the city manager and approved by the city council (according to state law).
- Budget of approx. $25mil (incl. support & transfers)
- Covers Internal Affairs, Recruiting, and Training. Future cadet class decisions would impact this part of the budget and would help separate those dollars from being reallocated without Council authority.

Restructure or move Mounted Police unit (approx. $2.5mil); eliminate or convert to civilian authorized FTEs in the APD executive leadership (amount is pending budget office estimates); remaining functions (e.g. Park Police, Lake Patrol, Community Partnership staff, Victim Services staff, etc) representing approx. $25mil should be able to be allocated to other existing relevant departments, or one of the above as necessary.

-------------------------------

Proposal 2: Deconstruct

The building that houses APD HQ and formerly housed the Municipal Court has long been known to be beyond the end of it’s useful life. We should expedite the demolition of the APD Headquarters by directing the City Manager to move all remaining APD staff out of the existing headquarters building and into other underutilized city facilities. That property – which has significant value given its downtown location, proximity to the Waterloo Greenway, and future burying of I-35 – should be dedicated to addressing historic economic inequities in the black community and supporting future black community economic success. A community-led effort should be initiated to determine the specifics on how such a valuable property could be leveraged, and possibly serve as a gateway to East Austin.
Jimmy Flannigan
Council Member, District 6

Jimmy Flannigan
Posts: 85
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:44 am

Re: Police budget proposal to Reconstruct and Deconstruct

Post by Jimmy Flannigan » Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:41 pm

At the request of a constituent, here are the definitions for acronyms used in my proposal:

CTECC = Combined Transportation, Emergency & Communications Center – essentially the 9-1-1 call center
https://www.austintexas.gov/department/ ... nter-ctecc

DTAC = Downtown Command for APD, similar to the 4 APD "Regions" that cover the rest of the city
https://www.austintexas.gov/department/ ... sentatives

FTE = Full time employee
Jimmy Flannigan
Council Member, District 6

Post Reply