What is the plan to keep the Austin City Limits festival safe?


AUSTIN (KXAN) – As event organizers set the stage for the Austin City Limits Music Festival to kick off this weekend, KXAN looked at security planning for big events like ACL as the violent crimes continue to increase in the region.

The city of Austin requires organizers to provide a detailed safety plan. Large events are often encouraged to work with licensed private security companies to develop and manage these plans.

Safety planning should analyze potential problems or concerns and how the event and those providing security would react under those circumstances.

Once an organizer submits the safety plan, it must be approved by the Austin Police Department.

According to the city’s website, “The Austin Police Department will review your request and have the final authority to require a minimum number of police officers, licensed private security officers, and volunteers to organize the event. proposed event. The Austin Police Department also has the power to adjust the scale and certain aspects of your event to ensure it is safe and secure. “

Depending on the city, if APD chooses to add additional security personnel, the city will charge this expense to the organizer.

Austin Police Association president Ken Casaday said that with the shortage of officers, the department has barely been able to cover the overtime needed for the festival this year. However, he says there will be enough officers to cover the overtime required for the event, in addition to regular patrols throughout the city.

Casaday says he’s worried if attrition continues at the same rate as next year, however, there won’t be enough APD officers ready to work overtime for the 2022 ACL Fest.

This summer, the city of Austin exceeded the total number of homicides recorded in the year 2020. KXAN monitors homicides and the areas where they occur.

The owner of a private security firm, Hunter Burkey, said he has seen an increase in the number of occurrences of security personnel hired this year.

“With every event that we do every year, the staff has increased,” he said, compared to the events of 2019.

Burkey believes the contributing factors include the increase and crime and concerns about how some people might react to the rules related to COVID.

Burkey says there will be a mix of armed and unarmed private security guards throughout Zilker Park during the festival.

His team specifically provides unarmed staff inside the park and armed staff for some of the musical talent and in venues outside of Zilker during the festival.

Its guards and others who monitor the event are licensed by the state after going through background checks and meeting training requirements.

“For the most part, you know, security, we’re not supposed to be the ones who, you know, attack people and detain them and this and that,” Burkey said. “But we’re the first to observe and report and make sure that nothing is happening and that some people do not have access to it.”

Burkey says the guards often have a direct line of contact with the police for a quick response, if needed. He says their very presence, however, helps keep order.

“This visual deterrent to having security on site is enormous,” said Burkey.

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