Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition - October 2021


Abridged stories from online

APD to no longer respond to some nonemergency calls

Sobering Center to separate patients by substance used

DEFINING NONEMERGENCY Crimes that meet the following criteria will no longer receive on-scene response from APD officers as of Oct. 1.


The Sobering Center opened a new dorm in October that will be used to separate patients based on what substance they used instead of gender, per a press release. The Sobering Center, located at 1213 Sabine St. in downtown Austin, is a co-funded operation of the city and county intended to serve as an alternative to jails and emergency rooms for publicly intoxicated individuals. “Someone using a depressant will likely need things like rest while those using stimulants will have more energy and be looking for ways to engage,” the Oct. 11 press release stated. The new dorm has couches, bean bags, crafts, television and other activities, according to the release. “If someone [can] intervene at the point that they’re clearly a threat to themselves, or to others, and they could be in a space where they could safely sober up and not lose their minds, it would make all the difference,” former Board Member Doug Smith said in the press release.

Types of crime subject to the change:

These crimes can be considered nonemergency if they meet these three standards.


• Animal services • Attempted theft of property • Burglary • Theft • Prostitution • Suspicious vehicle or person • Some vehicle crashes • Verbal disturbances

The Austin Police Department will no longer respond to the scene of some nonemergency crimes, Police Chief Joseph Chacon announced Sept. 29. Chacon said several types of crimes, including verbal disturbances, theft and prostitution, that are no longer an active threat to people or property should be considered nonemergency and reported to 311 or online instead of to 911. Residents who are unsure if their situation is an emergency should call 911. The new measure went into effect Oct. 1. Chacon said this change comes as growth within the city and staffing issues stretch APD’s resources thin. “We are trying to keep up with a rapidly growing city,” Chacon said. He said crime reports will still be taken, and the incidents will still be investigated despite officers not responding to the scene. He also said in limited cases civilian APD

Nonemergency: • Incidents are no longer in progress • The suspect is no longer on scene • No further threat to life or property


employees, such as crime scene experts, might respond. Chacon said the measure is not permanent yet, but he added the department may stick to the new model even after reaching full staffing levels depending on its success.

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