AUSTIN, Texas — Time is ticking for the Austin Police Department to recruit officers for June’s cadet class. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 14. The Austin Police Association‘s president said unlike years past, the class will be smaller: only 60 to 75 people. Ken Casaday said they usually start a class with 90 to 100 cadets.
The news comes as the City Council cut and reallocated $150 million of APD’s budget last year and delayed cadet classes, KVUE reported. By the end of the year, the department will be on the same staffing levels as 1998, according to the association president.
“I think we’re going to have a very difficult time hiring going forward due to, for one, the price of housing here in Austin has gone through the roof, and to all the differences with the activists and City Council,” Casaday said.
Casaday said the department is so short-staffed, some detectives will soon be forced to fill vacant patrol positions. This should happen in about a month. Officers from specialized units have already been moved to backfill the open patrol positions.
As of Wednesday, a spokesperson said APD has 1,677 officers and 132 vacancies, KVUE reported.
Cadets don’t become officers until they graduate the police academy. Once they graduate they will engage in a lengthy field training program. As a result, they will not be ready to fill needed vacancies until 2022.