Austin Police Chief David McKichan talks the future of policing

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(ABC 6 News) – Times are tough for many first responders in our area, and Austin Police Chief David McKichan is being transparent with the community about the challenges they’re facing.

Chief McKichan took to Facebook saying the department is in the midst of its fourth homicide investigation this year.

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"We hope that by putting a little bit of more information out, even if it’s not about the details of the case, but just the way the processes work, we hope we can put them at ease about the role law enforcement is playing," Chief McKichan said.

He said in 1995, statewide there were 182 homicides.

Now in 2020, he says statewide there are 185 homicides.

It’s a growing problem.

"Things are happening at the state level that is driving that type of number up on what’s our most violent crime. It’s trickling down to areas like Austin," Chief McKichan said.

So what does Chief McKichan plan to do? He tells me he’s still trying to figure out the answer, but that answer could be trying to change the rhetoric around police.

"When you get some fraying at the edges of the social fabric, as it deals with how we respect and view the law, it just a little bit that moves people who normally wouldn’t be in the set that we deal with moves into that subset, it drives crime numbers up," Chief McKichan said.

Chief McKichan tells ABC 6 News they have the staff to keep the peace, 34 officers. But more is needed. He’s worried people won’t be drawn to a career in law enforcement.

"We know the people entering the profession has dropped off precipitously, and that’s going to not only have an impact in Austin, but the whole state going forward," Chief McKichan said.

And the Austin community took to Facebook, commenting on Chief McKichan’s post saying things like, "Thank you for protecting us, Thank you for your dedication, and you are appreciated."

Chief McKichan says these words go a long way.

"We are their police department," Chief McKichan said.