With a 9-2 vote, former assistant chief Joseph Chacon was confirmed as the new Austin police chief after a lengthy city council meeting on Thursday.
Chacon was named chief by Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk Wednesday morning but was awaiting official approval from a divided City Council after six months as interim chief.
"I'm confident Interim chief Joseph Chacon is the right person to lead our City's police department to achieve results, build trust and transparency, and accomplish equitable public safety outcomes for all Austin residents and visitors," Cronk said on Wednesday.
While he'd already secured the vote of Mayor Steve Adler among others, some city council members and community organizations weren't convinced that an insider was the best fit for a police force that has been accused of racism and poorly handling of sexual assault investigations.
Chacon replaces former chief Brian Manley, who retired in the spring after nearly a year of reform following the summer's Black Lives Matter protests.
Those skeptical of Chacon, including council member Greg Casar, asked the chief at Thursday's meeting about his commitments to police reform, his solutions for crime reduction and the department's handling of sexual assault cases.
NEW: Here are the questions I will ask Interim Chief Chacon during today's #ATXCouncil meeting.
Before deciding on a permanent Chief, we need a public conversation on these topics of safety & justice. #ATXhttps://t.co/aeX6CD5XrKpic.twitter.com/rrN2Y6n8gx
— Gregorio Casar (@GregCasar) September 30, 2021
Chacon said that the sex crimes department now has 20 detectives, more than any other unit. Chacon also said that gun crime is driving the city's spiking homicide rate and has created a new gun crime prevention program for the department.
Chacon has been in law enforcement for 28 years and was appointed assistant chief in Austin in 2016. Despite being part of the police force before its budget cuts, fund reallocation and police cadet raining overhaul, Chacon said he's been receptive to changing the status quo.
As interim chief, he was part of the shift in APD's training curriculm from a "paramilitary nature to one that is based in an adult learning environment" and has reduced police body cam footage public release from 60 days after an incident to just 10.
Chacon also said at the meeting that he doesn't support Save Austin Now's Prop A, which hopes to increase police staffing to 2 officers per 1,000 residents to combat crime, because the theory is "based on older methodologies" before they improved their data technology. Austinites will vote on the Save Austin Now initiative that will add police officers along with other measures to the APD in November.
After nearly four hours, Chacon was given a "yes" vote by all but members Mackenzie Kelly and Alison Alter, both of whom were unsure of the force's growth with an insider as leader.
Chacon defeated finalists Emada Tingirides, a Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief, and Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery Moore for the position.
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The 40-hour workweek has reigned since around the time of the Great Depression. But a new schedule gaining steam could lead some companies to throw out the practice of having employees clock in five days a week.
Promising results are coming out halfway into a six-month trial of four-day workweeks in the U.K. with 35 out of 41 companies responding to a recent survey saying they were “likely” or “very likely” to continue the reduced week after the pilot ends.
The trial, which began in June, is run by nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. It involves 3,300 workers across 72 companies who are trying out one paid day off per week between Monday and Friday.
During the four-day week, 34% of companies reported that productivity “improved slightly” and 15% say it “improved significantly.”
With the survey indicating that a four-day workweek could have some perks for companies and employees alike, will Austin join in on the trend?
On job searching tools like LinkedIn and Indeed, some jobs based in Central Texas are boasting a four-day work week. And Coltech Global, a recruiting firm based in London with a growing presence in Austin, began the four-day work week about a year ago.
Jessica Sutcliffe, a staffing consultant at Coltech, joined the company to help grow the U.S. market. She says due to the time difference between the U.S. team and the UK one, the company implemented a four-day week.
"I’ve found it very beneficial as it allows time to rest and complete life admin, whilst also enjoying life, travel and be able to come back to work rested/fulfilled outside of work, which ultimately helps focus inside of those core work hours," Sutcliffe said via email.
In an Instagram post, Coltech said that not only are employees feeling the benefits of being more refreshed in the mornings, having reduced illness and a less stressed atmosphere, but it’s also improving their carbon footprint since there’s less time spent traveling to the office and using energy.
Niki Jorgensen, director of service operations at human resources service provider Insperity, noted similar factors driving companies to make the change to a reduced work week.
“The most significant benefit for a company to adopt the four-day workweek is the improvement of employee morale,” Jorgensen told Austonia via email. “Over the past two years, numerous studies have shown employees think a four-day workweek reduces stress and burnout. With reduced stress and burnout comes improved employee engagement.”
And while Austin is already drawing in plenty of workers who are in their early careers, a four-day week may help companies stand out to that bracket’s top talent even more.
“Companies can leverage this to make their company more appealing, especially to younger generations who strongly consider factors outside of compensation when choosing employment,” Jorgensen said.
She went on to offer a few tips for making a smooth transition to a four-day week like setting expectations and staggering coverage so that it’s still possible to see clients five days a week. Also, employers should be flexible. She says some employees may not be able to get 40 hours of work done in a shorter week due to responsibilities like childcare, so employers should consider how they can still accomplish their duties.
Before ditching the 40-hour workweek though, it can help to take a temperature check to see if an extra day off is the right fit for the workplace.
“Do not implement a flexible schedule such as the four-day workweek if business owners and managers cannot commit to the level of trust and flexibility needed to ensure the schedule’s success,” Jorgensen said.
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Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
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Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
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