Mackenzie Kelly Addresses Austin’s Public Safety and Fire Prevention Issues

Austin City Council Faces Busy Week with Personnel Changes and Fire Danger

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin City Council has had a packed agenda this week, addressing important issues such as personnel changes within the Austin Police Department and taking significant steps to mitigate fire danger in the city.

In a recent interview with FOX 7 Austin’s Mike Warren, District six council member Mackenzie Kelly discussed these developments and shared her insights.

Mike Warren asked about the surprise retirement of Chief Joseph Chacon from the Austin Police Department. Mackenzie Kelly responded, stating that she was also taken aback by the news, which she learned just hours before the official announcement. Nevertheless, she highlighted that she had spoken to Chief Chacon twice that day and found him to be in high spirits. He expressed his excitement about the future and the opportunity to spend more quality time with his family. Kelly expressed confidence in Chief Chacon’s successor, interim chief Robyn Henderson, stating that she would continue the commendable work done by Chief Chacon during his two-year tenure.

Warren inquired about the potential impact of Chief Chacon’s departure on the morale of an already stressed police department. Kelly stressed that while morale at APD is notably low, it is not directly related to the police chief’s retirement. She emphasized the importance of acknowledging and celebrating the service and dedication of officers who have reached the point of retirement. Kelly pointed out that Chief Chacon had served the community for over 25 years, an impressive commitment that should not be underestimated. She also expressed her belief that many officers are eagerly looking forward to their own retirement after dedicating significant time to the city. Kelly praised Chief Chacon for his numerous accomplishments during his tenure.

Shifting focus to fire danger in Austin, Warren mentioned the city council’s decision to continue a city disaster declaration. He questioned whether there was any hesitation among council members regarding the declaration when Austin had not yet experienced a disaster of that magnitude. Kelly, as the only current council member with a background in firefighting and emergency management, provided valuable insights. She clarified that the declaration was a preemptive measure, citing the devastating wildfires that struck the city in 2011. By making the declaration in advance, the city is better equipped to request resources and funding for potential disasters or emergencies that may occur.

Warren then asked how citizens should prepare and what precautions they should take. Kelly advised residents to have a ready-to-go bag containing essential items in case they need to evacuate. She recommended visiting for detailed information on what to include in the bag. Additionally, Kelly urged individuals to be mindful of their environment and dispose of cigarette butts properly to prevent accidental fires. She emphasized the importance of not towing chains that could spark fires and ensuring that smoking materials are extinguished correctly. Kelly also urged citizens to avoid barbecuing unnecessarily during the disaster declaration and to report any fire sightings promptly. Lastly, she encouraged everyone to stay informed by listening to emergency officials and being vigilant of their surroundings.

As the Austin City Council continues its work, these recent developments demonstrate their dedication to address crucial issues and ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

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