The Austin Police Association PAC empowers our officers to help shape the political environment in order to advance public safety in Austin and to maintain the finest police department in the nation.
We are the political arm of the Austin Police Association, advocating on behalf of officer’s at City Hall and in the Texas Capitol. Our elected officials in the City of Austin have the ability to affect the lives of each and every officer of the Austin Police Department with the actions they take. It is our responsibility to inform policy makers on matters important to officers and public safety issues. We also monitor elections, endorse candidates we believe best represent our members, and provide accountability to those elected officials who stray from commitments during campaigns.
***The Austin Police Association Political Action Committee (APA PAC) does not use any funds from the Austin Police Association general fund or membership dues in order to pay for political activities. We rely solely on donations to fund our organization and have no annual dues.***
In order to best represent our membership the Board of Directors reflects the diversity of the department. With 11 board members, each is responsible for being the liaison between the PAC and a city council position. Each board member volunteers their time in order to accomplish the mission of the PAC.
Donald Baker – Chair
Jeff Olson – Vice-Chair
Val Escobar – Treasurer
Jennifer Szminanski – Recorder
5817 Wilcab Road
As officer’s for the City of Austin, the City Council members have the greatest control and influence of our working conditions as well as determining what level of priority public safety plays as part of the cities agenda.
“Under the November 6, 2012, voter-approved charter amendment, Council Members are no longer elected citywide. During the 2014 election, the Mayor was elected citywide, and the other 10 Council Members were elected by residents from geographic districts.
On Nov. 8, 2016, five Council Members who drew two-year terms will be up for election for full four-year terms that begin in January 2017. The remaining Council Members and the Mayor will be up for election in November 2018.” - http://www.austintexas.gov/department/10-one
The Austin City Limits extend into three different counties - Travis, Hays, and Williamson Counties. Of these three the vast majority of Austin falls within Travis County. For that reason, the Sheriff, County Judge, and County Commissioners all have an impact on how the Austin Police Department function. In particular the Sheriff, who oversees the jail that Austin officers interact with daily, has the greatest impact.
Austin is the Capitol City for Texas and the epicenter for Texas Politics. The legislature not only has influence over Civil Service Law but also law that governs police retirement systems. Austin is represented by several State Representatives as well as State Senators.
For years, the Austin Police Department and the City of Austin have used a provision in Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code called Meet & Confer in order to determine the expectations of and benefits given to officers. The Austin Police Association (APA) and the City of Austin (COA) each form a bargaining team and meet to negotiate the terms of a Meet & Confer Contract. That contract determines provisions related to officer pay, accountability, hiring, promotions, retirement. Having a good contract is one of the biggest factors that allows APD to recruit quality officers and to maintain the finest police department in the nation.
Our Contract determines and authorizes the accountability metrics and provisions used by the COA that extend beyond the authority outlined in Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code. Austin has had one of, if not the, greatest accountability systems in Texas if not the Nation. APD Officers are not afraid of being subject to being held accountable by the Citizens of Austin. All they ask is that they be treated fairly and within reason.
If not under a Meet & Confer Contract, APD can only recruit and hire officers based upon a written test not based on any other factors that would help APD continue to reflect the diversity of Austin. Historically, APD has tried to recruit female and minority officers so that our department mirrors the diversity of our community. Policing is also a physically demanding job and those expectations are set while cadets go through the training academy. Our contract has allowed these as well as other factors to be used in order to ensure we maintain a professional and quality department. As long as APD continues to operate without a contract, we will struggle to maintain the high level of professionalism APD has had.
TRAVIS COUNTY JAIL
Austin officers interact with Travis County Jail on a daily basis. The COA and APD has entered into an agreement that allows Austin Officers to take arrestees directly to Travis County Jail. Despite the intention of trying to streamline the booking process, officer’s experience has been hardly that of efficient. Officers can spend up to 4 or 5 hours, which is equal to half of their shift, dealing with an arrestee due to the current jail process. Officers frequently deal with being rejected at the jail for minor medical issues that jail staff is unable to address. Despite the COA spending millions of dollars and being the only entity that pays Travis County Jail to accept it’s prisoners, APD is having to spend even more money to hire overtime officers on the weekends to take arrestees through the process so that patrol officers can instead be relieved and go back to patrol.
5817 Wilcab Road
Austin, TX, 78721