Sabino “Pio” Renteria
City Council, District 3
I have the utmost respect for the women and men who sacrifice so much to keep our families safe and I hope for their well-being every day and night. But I have been horrified by the tragic and preventable shootings that have taken the lives of African American men right here in our own community.
It is undeniable that we are in desperate need of reform. We need to implement major changes to establish and maintain relationships between the public and law enforcement that are built on mutual trust and respect.
During my time on Council and before, I have worked to move Austin toward a community policing model that prioritizes trust-building between our communities and APD.
Thanks to the implementation of the recommendations from the Community Policing Report from the Matrix Consulting Group and the efforts of community organizations and advocates, I am encouraged that we can make real progress on this front. Austin needs to be a leader on this issue. But it’s going to take a lot of work.
We need better equip our officers with training and tools to prioritize de-escalation tactics and sensitive responses to mental health crises. We need to increase the amount of time dedicated to community outreach. And we need to recruit and promote officers who understand the needs of the neighborhoods they serve.
In the long run, establishing this trust will empower officers to better perform their duties and will make our communities safer.