In a new plan to improve public safety in Austin and address the city’s shortage of police officers, Texas DPS has agreed to take over some patrol duties and even 911 response in the capital city.
The partnership was announced on Monday at a press conference, Statesman.com reports.
Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said the goals of the partnership were to reduce traffic fatalities, decrease response times, and increase police presence to deter crime.
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw said repeat offenders would be one of the focuses of the partnership. He added that some troopers would not be in uniform.
Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said most 911 calls would be answered by Austin officers.
Mayor Watson said the troopers were expected to “support and supplement” Austin officers.
Community activists have expressed concern over the partnership, CBS Austin reports.
“I think DPS takes out the local context. I think although APD is not perfect by any means, they have taken strides, they have taken steps to understand the moment in time that was in around conversations we're having with policing,” said Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition.