By Sameer Shah
The City of Austin is undertaking a historic effort to reform policing and end disparities in how communities of color are treated when they interact with officers. This initiative is called Reimagining Public Safety (RPS).
It began in June 2020 in response to several incidents including the death of Michael Ramos during an interaction with the Austin Police Department in April 2020 and the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.
RPS builds on Austin’s numerous reforms to public safety over the years, including an investigation of systemic discrimination and bias within APD and establishing the Office of Police Oversight.
The Austin City Council passed several key resolutions related to RPS in June 2020, after which City Manager Spencer Cronk created a multidisciplinary team to execute on those resolutions.
The team is co-led by Deputy City Manager (DCM) Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde and Assistant City Managers (ACMs) Rey Arellano and Christopher Shorter.
To learn more about RPS, visit its dedicated website. Austin’s Mayor, City Council and the City Manager’s team are committed to listening to the community and incorporating broad-based feedback from across the city as public safety is redefined and reformed.
The City would like to hear from as many people as possible and ensure that the input is diverse and represents voices from across Austin.
To that end, the City has created several ways that residents can make their voice heard, ranging from participating in (or hosting) a community conversation to completing online surveys.Some of the key feedback opportunities include:
• Council District RPS Community Conversations – these are virtual meetings held in each Council District. Visit http:// https://austintexas.gov/publicsafety/share-input to sign up
• Events hosted by local organizations in partnership with the City – stay tuned for invitations to meetings held by organizations you belong to
• The Indian American Coalition of Texas is hosting a community conversation for its members on Dec 5th, 2020.
Contact IACT President Jayant Sheth for more information.
• Host your own discussion with family, friends and neighbors - the City will provide a Community Conversation Kit to make it easy
•Online surveys including an in-depth survey, short survey, and virtual idea forum
•The Austin 3-1-1 Reimagining Public Safety Feedback line
Visit the ShareInput page on the RPS website for up-to-date information on all the ways to make your voice heard.