First Austin Police cadet class in more than a year now underway

Austin Police

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- For the first time in more than a year, new recruits are on their way towards joining the ranks of the Austin Police Department.

The new class of 100 recruits is the first to take the department's new curriculum, along with expanded community engagement programming.

“Welcome to the 144th Austin Police Academy Cadet Class," Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk said. "I’m excited you're all here today. Many of you came to the police academy for different reasons. But after you go through this you will all be united in one common purpose, to serve our community with dignity, integrity, respect, compassion and professionalism."

The launch of the 144th cadet class follows last month's approval by the Austin City Council of a blueprint that city leaders say outlines a collaborative and ongoing process of transforming the academy, creating a core focus on community input, emphasizing servant leadership, and curriculum and teaching methods infused with diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We are transitioning from the military styled academy into one that is based on adult learning concepts and active learning,” interim police chief Joseph Chacon said. "Our experience and academic research indicate it leads to a better experience for the cadets, and they’re going to take that knowledge and apply it in the field in a positive way.”

The first two weeks of the program are focused on what city leaders call the "Community Connect" phase, which is aimed at forging deeper, more meaningful relationships with residents.

The department is planning a meet and greet event at Edward Rendon Park next Tuesday, June 15, from 4-6:30 p.m.

Training will begin on June 21, with graduation from the academy set for January 28, 2022.