Safety

In order to meet our growing community’s needs while providing true safety and security to all of our residents, the common strategies will simply not do. Public safety priorities have fallen out of balance, as have their budgets, and our communities are paying the price.

Here in Austin, our City Council has already put structural change into motion by offering new ways to set appropriate goals, measure success, and rethink responsibilities and tasks that have traditionally been held by the police department. As chair of the new Public Safety Committee, we’re taking a deliberate approach to our work by hosting robust dialog with stakeholders – including law enforcement, criminal justice reform advocates, and other local and national community experts – to thoroughly learn about and vet methods to improving our public safety as a city. Read more about this work at www.jimmyflannigan.com/public-safety-reform

Public Safety reform means:

  • Replacing the singular police chief role with a system modeled after 10-1 — a council of sworn commanders representing 5 regions in the city with a civilian "police commissioner" that will help broaden the perspective of police leadership reflecting our city's demographic and geographic diversity
  • Improved police training to match with our community's values
  • Focusing first response for non-violent calls on service, protection, and compliance rather than punitive enforcement which will enable a greater scale of response from lower cost options
  • Completing efficiency studies on our public safety agencies, helping focus response on the need rather than sending multiple units from multiple departments to the same call, and ensuring the right agency is responding to the right types of calls
  • Implementing a fully-resourced neighborhood watch program that will help educate D6 residents on how to protect their property and provide a lower-cost and community-focused alternative to traditional patrols
  • Expanding wildfire preparedness and prevention with neighborhood wildfire evacuation and safety drills, expanding fuels mitigation through our utility departments and private groups like AmeriCorps
  • Strengthen resources that build up our community through proactive preventative measures, such as greater mental health availability, after-school programming and substance abuse treatment.
  • Working with our state and county leaders to enable county enforcement of targeted land use and wildfire prevention rules to cover wildfire risk areas just beyond the city limits

  What we've already accomplished

  • Held firm on police union contract negotiations in 2018, substantially reducing costs to the taxpayers, leading to the creation of the new Office of Police Oversight and allowing anonymous complaints to be submitted
  • Led on fire union contract negotiations in 2018, substantially reducing overtime costs, saving millions of dollars
  • Approved an efficiency study process for Fire and EMS to help streamline operations in a way that can reduce costs and improve response
  • Completed purchase of land in District 6 for a new public safety facility, which when combined with Fire and EMS service, will help dramatically reduce response times
  • Funded new community health paramedics and tele-health options for 9-1-1 which will divert mental health calls currently handled by police officers
  • Funded new ambulances and EMTs to address growth and gaps in service for District 6
  • Approved expanded agreements and shared equipment with surrounding public safety agencies to help address the 9-1-1 confusion for our residents living along the city limits
  • Added new monies in the budget for wildfire protection
  • As Chair of the Judicial Committee (now expanded into the Public Safety Committee), led an unprecedented review and reformation of our municipal court bench and completed the construction of a new Municipal Court, moving operations out of the unsafe downtown location and
  • Included flooding infrastructure improvements for Angus Valley neighborhood in the approved 2018 bond

  Leadership