Austin Police Chief wants to hire five officers to cut back on burnout following three shootings

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(ABC 6 News) – With three shootings in the last five weekends in Austin, people living in the city are on edge after another violent weekend and an understaffed police department is now stretched even thinner.

Two weeks ago the Austin City Council approved adding two more licensed officers, increasing the department’s staff to 36. They still need to hire five more officers.

Chief David McKichan believes the two officers hired in the beginning of June will help their colleagues who are already burnt out from shootings last month.

McKichan describes the frequency of these shootings happening close together as unusual. He believes hiring more officers will help the department to respond more quickly and efficiently if more shootings happen.

“And part of why we’re going from 34 to 36 is working with the community in the form of those council members to identify that Austin has grown in the last decade plus, really the last two-and-a-half decades I’ve been here. But that growth means we’re serving more people, and to be able to serve more people to do it with an adequate number of staff,” McKichan explained.

During all of the shooting investigations, suspects were arrested within 24 hours, including early Saturday morning.

“Although it happened at 12:45 at night, we had the staff available along with partner agencies, the Sheriff’s Department and the state patrol who were able to help us out, to be able to work the scene, treat the victim, identify, locate a suspect and take that suspect into custody,” McKichan said.

Austin Police arrested Hector Serrano Maldonado three hours after the shooting Saturday. He is charged with first degree assault with intent to cause great bodily harm.