,  Black Austin Democrats View All Reponses >>

Although Austin has remained a relatively safe city, there have been far too many shootings of African American men. What kind of changes would you institute at APD to reduce the number of officer-involved shootings and reduce the degree of mistrust that exists between the African American community and the police?

Lewis Conway Jr.

City Council, District 1

Anecdotally: Firstly, we believe in a participatory budgetary process; one that engages the communities most impacted and a process that is transparent. It is our belief that we have to look across the nation at other cities that look like Austin and see what efforts have been made. As someone with a background in servicing the population that is most involved under the rubric of public safety, we have to look at the conditions that are leading to crime, before we can effectively reduce crime. For clarity’s sake, if we are addressing property crimes and low level drug arrests, then we are looking at a population that needs treatment more than incarceration. It is our belief that the cost analysis has to begin, with the onus of responsibility in providing the best quality of safety, for the best price, resting squarely on the shoulders of the municipality. Therefore, we have to look at what has historically been least effective and be willing to excise, conversely we have to look at what has worked and be willing to robustly invest in strategies that align with those efforts.

Policy: We believe there are several immediate steps that can be taken:

  • Reinstate education threshold for new candidates, was reduced from BS in 2013.
  • Currently APD officers receive 40 hours of mental health training at the onset of their careers and unless specifically requested no other training is required. This 40 hrs should be spread out over a year and increased by 40 hours.
  • Undoing Racism Quarterly for All supervisors and biannually for rank and file officers.
  • APD supporting the 10k Fearless Urban 1st Responders team.

○ Community Safety over Community Policing

○ Mental Health 1st Responders

○ Community Safety Councils

■ Former APD

■ Former Military

■ Victims of crime

■ Formerly Incarcerated