Reimagining Public Safety

With the launch of the Reimagining Public Safety Initiative (RPS), we demonstrated our on-going commitment to implementing policy and cultural changes to address the disproportionate impact of police violence on people of color and other affected communities.

In June, the City Manager created a multidisciplinary team to spearhead RPS efforts. The team, co-led by Deputy City Manager (DCM) Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, and Assistant City Managers (ACMs) Rey Arellano and Christopher Shorter, is taking a holistic approach to organize resources as part of the reimagining process. Leaders from departments across the City are collaborating on this effort including the Office of Police Oversight, the Equity Office, Intergovernmental Relations, Labor Relations, the Police Department, Public Health, Law, and others.

The team’s scope of work includes ensuring implementation of several public safety reforms adopted by City Council as well as:
City-Community RPS Task Force 
At the direction of the City Manager, the RPS Leadership Team launched the City-Community Reimagining Public Safety Task Force in August. The Task Force brings together City staff and community members to consider new ways to help and support the community in times of crisis. It will co-create recommendations for policy, cultural and structural changes to Austin’s public safety systems.
Community Input and Outreach
The RPS team continues to prioritize gathering feedback from the public to inform decisions as we reimagine how our public safety resources can best serve everyone in our community. The RPS community engagement plan offers several ways for the public to share their thoughts and ideas on multiple platforms in a variety of languages including: 
Prioritizing Transparency and Accountability 
The RPS team continues to work on fostering public trust in the reimagining process with new and strengthened transparency and accountability systems, which build on several initiatives including: 
  •  Launching the Reimagining Public Safety website and a companion site in Spanish  to track progress on all RPS related resolutions, reforms, and initiatives. 
  • Building on the foundation of our Office of Police Oversight (OPO) by increasing its resources and authority.
  • Launching the Community Police Review Commission to work with OPO.
  • Creating a Civil Rights division, the first of its kind for Austin.
  • Establishing a new Public Safety Committee to include additional focus on policing and public safety.
Next Steps 
In March 2021 the City Manager will provide a six month progress update on public safety reforms to City Council.