(Pictured left to right) Officer Dean Tran, Dr. Anne Kringen, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk, Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano, Commander Catherine Johnson and Interim Chief of Police Joseph Chacon alongside new cadets.
One hundred recruits started their journey toward becoming police officers Monday as the Austin Police Department kicked off its 144th cadet class. The 34-week session will be a pilot class, the first to complete training using the Police Academy’s new curriculum and expanded community engagement programming.
Last month, Austin City Council approved moving forward with resuming cadet classes after accepting City Manager Spencer Cronk’s blueprint for a reimagined academy. The blueprint outlined a collaborative and on-going process of transforming the academy and creating a core focus on community input, emphasizing servant leadership, and curriculum and teaching methods infused with diversity, equity and inclusion.
Earlier today, City Manager Cronk and Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon addressed the cadets as they began the two-week Community Connect phase of training.
“Welcome to the 144th Austin Police Academy Cadet Class," 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 City Manager also thanked APD instructors and staff for all of their hard work developing the training and curriculum to make this reimagined cadet class a reality.
Chief Chacon told the cadets that the training in the months ahead would be tough, but he is confident everyone has the ability to succeed.
“We are transitioning from the military styled academy into one that is based on adult learning concepts and active learning,” 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.”
Key dates for the new Academy class include:
• June 7, 2021 - 144th Academy Community Connect program begins
• June 21, 2021 - 144th Academy Training begins
• January 25, 2022 - Chief’s Run
• January 28, 2022 - 144th Academy Graduation
Forging deeper, more meaningful relationships with the Austin residents, is one of the key priorities for APD and the reimagined Academy. Members of the community will be given a chance to interact with the incoming cadet class from 4 - 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15, at a community meet and greet at Edward Rendon Park, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia Street.
Community representatives will also participate in an academy training video and curriculum review committees through the academy session. An independent evaluator will be on-site for the first week of classes as part of APD’s commitment to continually evaluate and improve academy training.