Austin, Texas, police are urging the public to call 311 instead of 911 to report nonemergencies, authorities said.
Starting Friday, individuals in the city are asked to use 311 when reporting crimes that are either no longer in process, when the suspect is no longer on the scene, or when there is no immediate threat to life or property, according to the Austin Police Department.
“Please understand, if somebody is in danger, we’re still going to send a marked unit and a uniformed officer to go handle it,” interim police chief Joseph Chacon explained Wednesday, according to KXAN-TV. “But for crimes that may have already happened and are now being reported, we are looking at alternative measures, and that’s what we’re working on now.”
Chacon said the changes come amid recent staffing challenges, reimagining public safety task force recommendations, and its review of its patrol COVID-19 mitigation protocols, which started May 2020.