Austin police limiting response to ‘non-emergency calls’
Provided by Austin Police Department
The Austin Police Department (APD) will implement changes to call routing and non-emergency response services on Friday, October 1, 2021.
This change is a result of a recent review of APD’s patrol COVID mitigation protocols, recent staffing challenges, as well as recommendations from the Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) Task Force aimed at finding alternative response solutions to non-emergency calls that do not involve sending a police officer.
The changes will affect response to the following non-emergency situations:
When there is no immediate threat to life or property
Where crimes are no longer in progress
When the suspect(s) are no longer on scene or in sight
In these types of situations the community is encouraged to submit a non-emergency police report online at iReportAustin.com or by calling 3-1-1.
“Safety is our department’s number one priority,” Interim Chief of Police Joseph Chacon said. “APD will still respond to emergency situations and thoroughly investigate crimes reported to the Department.”
The new response protocols will provide some relief to APD’s current staffing challenges by allowing officers to focus on responding to 9-1-1 calls involving immediate threats to life or property in a timely manner. The changes are also in alignment with APD patrol’s COVID-19 risk mitigation protocols aimed at reducing some officer contact with the public while still providing essential services.
Below is a list of incidents or issues the community can report through iReportAustin.com or by calling 3-1-1, effective October 1, 2021, if the incident is no longer in progress, a suspect is no longer on scene or there is no immediate threat to life or property:
Burglary of residence, business or vehicle
Crashes not requiring a tow, when there are not injuries, both drivers have proof of insurance and a driver’s license, and when neither driver is impaired
Suspicious Person / Vehicle
The alternative response protocols are also in alignment with the recommendations brought forward by the Reimagining 911 and Non-Police Crisis Response work group of the RPS Task Force.
“These response changes will ensure that we will bring all of our resources to bear, including officers and technical experts, to respond to all situations as appropriate,” Chief Chacon said. “We recognize the staffing challenges our department faces, and we are trying to be innovative in how we respond.”
APD regularly reviews response policies and procedures to ensure APD prioritizes calls with an immediate threat to life or property over non-emergency calls for service.
The community is reminded to call 9-1-1 when there is an emergency and/or immediate threat to life or property.