Austin city council will vote on the reintroduction of the police academy on Thursday
Austin City Council will vote Thursday on Item 37, which will reinstate the city’s police academy by June.
Austin, Texas – – Austin City Council approved a draft for a redesigned Austin Police Department cadet academy. This is the first step in creating the first cadet class this summer.
The path to a new, redesigned academy consists of three parts:
- Increased community participation
- Establishing a culture of adult education
- Transformative change
“I am proud of the incredible amount of workforce and the community that have put us on our way to a newly designed police cadet academy,” said City Manager Spencer Cronk in a press release. “This blueprint is the first step in a collaborative and iterative process to transform the Academy and create an emphasis on community contributions, with an emphasis on servant leadership and curricula and teaching methods that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.”
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The blueprint fulfills the following goals:
- Addresses concerns about the Academy’s curriculum, training techniques, and learning objectives that the council and community have set in the past
- Includes recommendations from Kroll Associates, Inc. and the Academy’s internal reviews by the APD under Council Resolution 20191205-066
- Recognition and inclusion of contributions from the Community Video Review Panel, the RPS Task Force (City-Community Reimagining Public Safety) and other community members, as well as the Equity Office and the Office of Police Oversight
- Serves as a starting point for real reforms of the Academy’s learning objectives, curriculum and training that meet the expectations of the Council and our community of public safety
- Addresses the city’s need to maintain adequate staffing within the APD to ensure the safety and well-being of the public
Cronk emphasized that there are three key areas that need to be set in order to move forward, including:
The police academy should involve the community in developing officials to protect and serve them. Specific community engagement includes:
- Participation in the Academy’s curriculum review committee
- The joint creation of a pilot community in front of the academy combines workshop and programming
- Course co-moderation with community subject matter experts
- Formalize the video review process with community participation
A culture of adult education
The teaching method of the academy must focus on the following:
- Adult learning strategies such as using scenario-based training tools and reorienting the course plan to ensure cadets are given the correct space to store and process course content. Two additional civilian employees and a head of education have been added to the APD to foster this enhanced culture of adult education, support and innovation.
- All course materials are reviewed to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are prioritized and aligned with our values
- The academy’s faculty will be retrained in various teaching methods and will receive opportunities for expanded professional development that will replace the previous paramilitary approach of the training academy
- Formalize the Academy’s faculty assessment / review process, including the Academy’s curriculum review committee
The leadership’s expectation is that, with the implementation of these recommendations, the Academy will bring a new focus on servant leadership, increased community contribution and participation, updated curricula and teaching methods that promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and oversight through Have an independent evaluator Make sure the changes have been implemented and are producing the desired results.
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Continuing community engagement and public contributions are critical to the academy’s continued success, according to Cronk. The public can share their contributions and recommendations on the RPS feedback portal on SpeakUp Austin! in English and Spanish.
The city says the academy’s resumption on June 7 is dependent on all steps in the city administrator’s draft being completed, along with additional progress reports, community contributions, independent evaluation, and budget criteria for the 144th and future cadet class. The city’s staff will report regularly to the council, including updates from the independent evaluator.
“I believe that through this process we will create an academy that will reflect our values in the community and serve as a role model for the rest of the nation,” said Cronk.
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Austin Mayor Steve Adler endorsed the blueprint, saying in a statement:
“Austin needs a new cadet class, and we need that class too to achieve goals that match the goals of the community. I believe we can be in this place for a cadet class on June 7th by reviewing the city manager’s draft consequences.
“Last summer, the Austin City Council committed to the community to conduct an in-depth review of our police academy. The professional and workgroup review of the training materials has confirmed the need for reform and corrective action to better prepare cadets for their role in the next step Our review process will be to reform the way these materials are delivered and the city administrator has set a schedule to achieve this with a start date of June 7th.
“I hope the coming cadet class will bring about cultural change for our community.”
Further information on the “Reimagining Public Safety” initiative can be found here.