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In the News

CAPCOG law enforcement cadets score another perfect pass rate

Monday, March 25, 2013


Cadets from CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy Class 66 prepare to graduate March 22, 2013, in Austin, Texas.

Another class of CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy cadets has achieved a 100 percent first-attempt pass rate on the state exam for new peace officers.

The success marks another notch in the academy's pass-rate record, with all but two of the agency's approximately 20 cadet classes in the last five years having accomplished this feat.

What contributes to the academy's high pass rate? "Hard work and personal time spent with cadets," said RLEA Director Mike Jennings. "We work with them one-on-one and as a group."

Class 66, which started CAPCOG's six-month Basic Peace Officer Course last fall, comprised 28 cadets representing area agencies such as Cedar Park Police Department, Round Rock Fire Department, Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, San Marcos Police Department and Texas State University.

Cadets must pass the state exam administered by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education to become licensed peace officers.

> Learn more about CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy
> Explore upcoming RLEA training opportunities

EPA seeks Smart Growth Achievement honorees

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 12th annual National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, recognizing innovative communities, is accepting nominations through 5 p.m. Eastern time Friday, April 12, 2013.

Public-sector, private-sector and nonprofit entities can apply for the award, which honors use of "smart-growth principles to improve communities environmentally, socially and economically," according to the EPA website. Competition categories include "Built Projects"; "Corridor and Neighborhood Revitalization"; "Plazas, Parks and Public Places"; and "Policies, Programs and Plans."

The competition will culminate in a December 2013 awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Learn more at EPA's website. > Go

CAPCOG law enforcement training: opportunities available now

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

RLEA cadets
Cadets practice during a class conducted by the state-accredited CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy.

CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy is offering training opportunities for aspiring peace officers and veteran professionals this spring.

The academy is accepting applications for its eight-month Basic Peace Officer Course, or cadet training, starting May 6, 2013, in Bryan, Texas. The part-time night class, offered in cooperation with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments and designed to meet the needs of working adults, includes academic instruction and preparation for the state licensing exam.

For current law enforcement professionals, CAPCOG’s continuing-education opportunities include the five-day Firearms Instructor Course starting March 18; the free class Focus on Reducing Impaired Driving Among Youth, March 22; the five-day Basic Instructor Course in mid-May; and more.

Also, CAPCOG’s Use of Force Simulator, a state-of -the-art training tool that helps law enforcement personnel prepare for a variety of sensitive situations, is available. Contact RLEA Director Mike Jennings to schedule the tool, which any agency that employs peace officers can use. > Go

> Explore the Basic Peace Officer Course
> Learn more about the Use-of-Force Simulator
> Discover CAPCOG's continuing education for law enforcement professionals

CAPCOG offers dispatcher applicant testing

Monday, March 11, 2013

CAPCOG Emergency Communications offers public-safety dispatcher, call-taker, and telecommunicator applicant testing for Public Safety Answering Points, or 9-1-1 communication centers, throughout the 10- county region.

Call-testing helps PSAPs select employees with the critical skills and abilities necessary to succeed on the job.

For more information or to schedule testing for your applicants, contact Devin Huntley. > Go

Regional forum showcases smart growth scenario-planning tools

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

With three speakers, free breakfast and an interactive demonstration of scenario-planning tools to help Central Texas cities shape future growth, the Capital Area Council of Governments Sustainable Places Project will present the free regional forum, Planning for Prosperity, 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2013, in Austin. 

The forum, open to local governments, planning consultants, real estate developers and the public, marks the fourth in a series of SPP regional forums and will demonstrate a suite of Web-based interactive tools aimed at helping local jurisdictions and their communities develop and explore scenarios for a more efficient, financially sustainable future.

Speakers will include urban and regional planning expert John Fregonese of Fregonese Associates and members of the University of Texas analytics tool team.  

Eventbrite - Sustainable Places Project Regional Forum: Planning for Prosperity

It all began a decade ago, as the nonprofit Envision Central Texas and consultant Fregonese launched a planning effort to help the region manage future growth. The "activity centers" concept emerged as a preferred vision: nodes of growth – connected by transportation options – with pedestrian-oriented housing, employment, education and retail opportunities.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization 2035 Plan continued that vision, aligning transportation funding with activity centers. 

> Read the CAMPO 2035 Plan

Carrying the activity centers concept forward, CAPCOG and regional partners have teamed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and others to host the Sustainable Places Project, an initiative integrating planning, analytics tools and community visioning to help Central Texas governments maximize public-sector return on investment.

The project includes demonstration sites – in Austin, Dripping Springs, Elgin, Hutto and Lockhart – that will use scenario-planning tools developed in collaboration with UT. 

> Learn more about the Sustainable Places Project

Forum participants will learn how these Web-based tools work on a range of scales, whether assessing the feasibility of developing a few individual parcels or looking at the big picture of housing, jobs and transportation options across strategically connected centers throughout the region. Attendees will get a hands-on look at tomorrow's tools today. Register for the limited-seating free forum by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 26. > Go

CAPCOG’s Use-of-Force Simulator: a timely training tool

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

CAPCOG Use-of-Force Simulator
CAPCOG's mobile Use-of-Force Simulator helps law enforcement prepare for situations such as active-shooter threats.

With recent mass shootings nationwide putting the spotlight on prevention, preparedness, protection and response, ongoing professional training for peace officers holds a crucial role in helping law enforcement keep communities safe.

For 18 years and counting, the Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Academy has been training new and veteran police officers in using force and responding to emergency situations. A key tool? CAPCOG’s Use-of-Force Simulator, which provides active-shooter training to law enforcement agencies and police cadets.

> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy

The simulator, an integrated system using software, a video screen and hundreds of potential incident scenarios, provides a realistic use-of-force training that helps participants develop the skills required for law enforcement personnel armed with both lethal and less-lethal weapons. Scenario content sets include various potential outcomes relevant to patrol; tactical matters; corrections; airport, school or military situations; drug enforcement; security; and active-shooter incidents. The simulator’s mobility — it’s contained in a wheeled trailer — allows for use at permanent facilities or off-site locations.

A typical training session lasts about 45 minutes. To begin, the simulator operator first refreshes the officer or cadet on use-of-force issues and departmental policy. The student then receives a weapon similar to what he or she carries while on duty. The simulator weapon does not fire live rounds but produces the same sound and recoil of a live weapon upon discharge.

> Learn more about RLEA cadet training

The officer or cadet is then shown a video scenario during which the student must ask questions, give commands and ultimately decide the amount of force needed to resolve the situation. Depending on the student’s questions or commands, the simulator operator is able to escalate or deescalate the scenario with the onboard computer system.

Once the session ends, the instructor and student review it using video replay.

> Get the current lineup of continuing-education classes for peace officers

Participants can expect all the hard realities of a real encounter. Judgment calls, indecision, sudden fear, partial understanding, blind-side surprise, eye-blink response, physical and psychological responses and life or death choices all contribute to the training experience that conditions the officer or cadet for survival.

The simulator features exceptionally realistic video and environments for all aspects of firearms handling, including marksmanship, tactical strategies, observation skills, scene assessments, interactive dialogue, problem-solving and decisionmaking. The tool provides for practice of high-stress, highliability incidents that can be more costly or difficult to recreate by conventional methods.

In operation locally since August 2010, the simulator has visited every county that CAPCOG serves. Personnel trained on the simulator report that it has helped them during critical incidents such as an officer-involved shooting. One local officer reported that the training helped prepare him to save not only his life but other officers during a recent such incident.

> Contact RLEA Director Mike Jennings today to schedule the simulator

A closer look: helping the region manage household hazardous waste

Monday, March 04, 2013

HHW

With the average home potentially containing as much as 100 pounds of environmentally harmful products, promoting responsible household hazardous waste management is a primary goal of CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Program. Here’s a closer look at how CAPCOG makes it happen.

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) includes leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable or reactive ingredients. Products such as paints, thinners, varnishes, cleaners, oils, batteries, cellphones, automotive fluids, pool chemicals and bug and weed killers may be considered HHW. These products are labeled “DANGER,” “WARNING,” “CAUTION,” “TOXIC,” “CORROSIVE,” “FLAMMABLE” or “POISON” and may prove harmful to people, pets and the environment when used, stored or discarded improperly.

> Explore CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Program or household hazardous waste

CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Program maintains the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan, which provides a structure for solid waste planning in the region. A key goal? Encouraging local and regional HHW collection and diversion programs.

To that end, CAPCOG promotes (1) coordination of public and private partnerships to share costs and provide services, (2) development of collection programs that encourage permanent reuse facilities and (3) cost-efficient collection programs other than one-day events.

CAPCOG also manages pass-through grants provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which may fund permanent HHW collection facilities or one-day collection events where permanent facilities aren’t available.

CAPCOG facilitates the regional plan’s goals and objectives through the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) and the CAPCOG Solid Waste Program. Committee participants help establish and promote priorities for solid waste planning, including HHW initiatives.

During the last funding cycle, the SWAC approved support for three upcoming HHW initiatives: Burnet County HHW and tire collection, scheduled April 20, 2013; a new City of Lakeway HHW Facility; and a Bastrop County HHW education and collection event on May 4.

> Learn more about the 2012-13 solid waste grant awards

CAPCOG’s 10-county region includes four permanent facilities that accept household hazardous waste from residents:

  • City of Austin HHW Facility, 2514 Business Center Drive, 512-974-4343 — Free to city of Austin and Travis County residents; fee charged to other residents.
  • Williamson County Recycle Center, 495 County Road 156, at FM 971, Georgetown, 512-869-7287 — Free to Georgetown and Hutto residents; fee to Williamson and Burnet county residents.
  • City of San Marcos HHW Facility, 630 E. Hopkins St., 512-393-8440 — Free to Hays County residents.
  • City of Round Rock Recycling Facility, 310 Deepwood Drive, 512-218-5559 — Free to Round Rock Water utility customers with copy of Round Rock Water utility bill and a driver’s license.

> For more information, contact Ken May, CAPCOG's solid waste program manager

Hennig to helm CAPCOG Economic Development Program

Monday, March 04, 2013


Michael Hennig

The Capital Area Council of Governments has hired Texas native Michael Hennig as its new Economic Development Program manager.

Hennig joins CAPCOG from Austin-based AngelouEconomics, a nationally recognized economic development and site selection firm where he served as president.

With his extensive public- and private-sector experience on tap, Hennig will oversee the development and execution of services that support local and regional economic development activities. This includes analyzing and sharing economic data, managing special projects that support regional planning efforts and economic prosperity and more.

Hennig, whose project experience reaches across the U.S. and abroad, holds a Master of Public Administration degree in economic development from the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Urban and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Business Administration in entrepreneurship from Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business.

Ozone Advance Web page launches; survey offers chance to weigh in

Thursday, February 21, 2013

CAPCOG and partners have launched a new online resource to help gain stakeholder input on an upcoming regional ozone-reduction plan.

The project's Web page, which offers details on the emissions-reduction initiative, tools for stakeholder outreach and individual pollution-curbing efforts and a look at next steps - is now live at www.capcog.org/ozoneadvance.

With the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition’s (CAC) acceptance into the Ozone Advance Program, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiative to help areas stay in step with federal ozone standards, stakeholders are invited to help develop a new regional air quality plan.

CAC, a Capital Area Council of Governments committee, comprises five area counties charged with implementing the 8-Hour O3 Flex Plan, an ongoing regional initiative to reduce ozone pollution.

Through its advisory subcommittee, the coalition kicked off outreach efforts in February 2013 by presenting a training for interested local government staff and others willing to participate in helping obtain public input. Participating outreach partners would help spread the word about the OAP’s purpose, ozone air quality challenges facing the region and more.

In addition to the tools already available, the new Web page will also soon include links to a calendar for outreach organizers and to an Ozone Advance brochure. 

Organizations interested in outreach training or offering input on the plan as stakeholders can contact Andrew Hoekzema. > Go

> Take the survey at CAPCOG's new Ozone Advance page

Executive Committee plans up-close look at mobile communications resource

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Capital Area Council of Governments Executive Committee will get a chance to kick the tires of Williamson County's emergency mobile communications vehicle during the committee's 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, session at 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, in Austin.

The Regional Mobile Communications Platform 3 vehicle, made possible in part by federal Homeland Security Grant Program funds awarded through CAPCOG, can provide rapid mobile voice and data communications support - including replacing a damaged or destroyed 9-1-1 communication center - in the event of a natural disaster or other major event. Staff from Williamson County's Emergency Communications Department will brief the committee on RMC-3's capabilities and provide a tour.

Also on the meeting agenda: a presentation on regional water issues, updates to Travis County representation on the committee and review or approval of selected agency business. 

As CAPCOG's governing body, the 28-member Executive Committee - including three nonvoting legislators representing State Planning Region 12 - largely comprises city and county elected officials nominated and selected annually to provide direction to CAPCOG staff regarding program implementation, budgets and contracts, and general policies and procedures for managing the agency. Members meet the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.

CAPCOG, serving Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties, helps its member governments and organizations maximize opportunities and eliminate duplication on key regional issues.

> Get the agenda packet
> Learn more about CAPCOG

Ozone Action Plan outreach gets under way

Monday, February 11, 2013

With the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition’s (CAC) acceptance into the Ozone Advance Program, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiative to help areas stay in step with federal ozone standards, stakeholders are invited to help develop a new regional air quality plan.

CAC, a Capital Area Council of Governments committee, comprises five area counties charged with implementing the 8-Hour O3 Flex Plan, an ongoing regional initiative to reduce ozone pollution. 

Through its advisory subcommittee, the coalition kicked off outreach efforts this month by presenting a training for interested local government staff and others willing to participate in helping obtain public input. Participating outreach partners would help spread the word about the OAP’s purpose, ozone air quality challenges facing the region and more.

Organizations interested in outreach training or offering input on the plan as stakeholders can contact Andrew Hoekzema. > Go

> Explore CAPCOG's Air Quality Program
> Learn more about EPA's Ozone Advance Program

Grant proposals for rural community design workshops due March 5, 2013

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is seeking grant proposals from rural communities by 5 p.m. EST Tuesday, March 5, 2013, to plan and host facilitated workshops addressing local livability including quality of life and economic vitality. Selected hosts will receive a $7,000 grant and technical assistance to develop and conduct the resepctive two-day workshop in their area. Cash or in-kind matching funds required. Get details at the CIRD website. > Go

CAPCOG recognizes Constable Dussetschleger for longtime service

Friday, February 01, 2013


CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy Director Mike Jennings (right) heartily thanks Constable Dussetschleger for longtime volunteerism.

The Capital Area Council of Governments has honored Lee County Constable L.E. “Buster” Dussetschleger for a robust record of CAPCOG volunteerism. 

Dussetschleger, with 40 years’ experience in law enforcement, has volunteered with CAPCOG in various capacities including more than three decades of participation on the Law Enforcement Education Committee, service on the Homeland Security Task Force and teaching duties with the Regional Law Enforcement Academy. He was recently presented with a framed certificate of appreciation for his dedication and commitment.

Though newly retired, Dussetschleger will continue serving on the LEEC.

> Learn more about CAPCOG's Law Enforcement Education Committee
> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy

Feb. 28 marks Silver-Haired Legislature filing deadline

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Want to serve in the 15th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL), representing senior constituencies for a two-year term? Be sure to file by Feb. 28 for May 28, 2013, elections. Candidates must be 60 or older, registered voters and residents of the Texas district they wish to represent.

The 69th Texas Legislature authorized the TSHL in April 1985 for participants to identify issues and concerns of their peers and propose solutions. In a tradition spanning more than two decades, the 14th TSHL met last September at the Texas State Capitol and adopted 65 resolutions to address the needs of older Texans.

Candidates for the 15th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature whose residence is within the Capital Area Agency on Aging's 10-county jurisdiction should contact agency director Jennifer Scott for information on filing, duties of the office, necessary forms and deadlines. > Go

> Download the election kit
> Learn more about the TSHL
> Sign up for a candidates' course about the TSHL

CAPCOG seeking GIS map project proposals by Feb. 14

Thursday, January 17, 2013

CAPCOG is seeking proposals to create and update geospatial map data in a two-year initiative for the capital area. The RFP process includes a voluntary pre-proposal conference in late January, with proposals due at CAPCOG's Austin office by 4 p.m. CST Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.

> Learn more about the RFP

Federal bureau seeks nominations for Congressional Badge of Bravery

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Know a law enforcement hero? Tell the world! Law enforcement agency heads are invited to submit nominations for the federal Congressional Badge of Bravery by Feb. 15, 2013. The award, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, honors federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers for exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty during the 2012 calendar year. Participants must provide their nominations online.

> Learn more, and nominate someone today

New report shows regional investments in solid waste reduction

Friday, January 11, 2013

With funding from the state's Regional Solid Waste Grants Program, CAPCOG distributed more than $860,000 for recycling projects and other waste-management initiatives among local jurisdictions across the capital area.

Learn about efforts by CAPCOG and similar agencies across the state to curb illegal dumping, increase material recovery and ensure proper waste disposal in a newly released fiscal 2011 report from the Texas Association of Regional Councils.

> Download the report from TARC's website

CAPCOG Executive Committee gets Congressional guest

Thursday, January 10, 2013

USRepRogerWilliams1-13The first session of CAPCOG's 2013 Executive Committee included a visit from newly elected U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, who introduced himself and welcomed the group as its Jan. 9 meeting and legislative forum got under way. 

Williams, representing the 25th Congressional district, will serve on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on the Budget, joining fellow members of the North Texas delegation in the 113th Congress.

CAPCOG's Executive Committee convened at the Robert E. Johnson Legislative Conference Center in downtown Austin to elect officers, hear staff updates, review or approve selected agency business and discuss regional service priorities with state legislators. Topics included emergency communications, homeland security, air quality, solid waste management, law enforcement training, rural transportation, aging programs and economic development.

As CAPCOG's governing body, the 28-member Executive Committee - including three nonvoting legislators representing State Planning Region 12 - largely comprises city and county elected officials nominated and selected annually to provide direction to CAPCOG staff regarding program implementation, budgets and contracts, and general policies and procedures for managing the agency. Members meet the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.

CAPCOG, serving Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties, has helped its member governments and organizations maximize opportunities and eliminate duplication on key regional issues for more than 40 years. Formed in 1970, the agency is one of 24 councils of governments in Texas.

CAPCOG launches Blanco County Transportation and Economic Development Plan

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Capital Area Council of Governments and partners have launched an initiative that for the first time will result in an integrated economic development strategy and official major thoroughfare plan for a rural county in the region.  

The upcoming Blanco County Transportation and Economic Development Plan, expected to cover the current period to 2035, will identify opportunities and solutions to help residents, businesses, local leadership and other stakeholders travel more efficiently and maximize the county's economic potential.

With the initiative proposed to include an advisory committee, public involvement and other key components, project team members from CAPCOG, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute got efforts under way with a Nov. 27 opening presentation to the Blanco County Commissioners’ Court.

A draft of the plan is expected to be completed by August 2013. 

> Download the November 2012 presentation

CAPCOG workshops for state criminal justice funds rescheduled

Friday, January 04, 2013

CAPCOG's Homeland Security division has rescheduled its two January 2013 workshops for potential grant applicants interested in new state funding opportunities regarding criminal justice, juvenile justice and victim services.

The Jan. 7 workshop on the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) and the Juvenile Service Projects funding has been rescheduled to Jan. 18. The Jan. 14 session on the General Victim Assistance - Direct Services Programs grant and the Violent Crimes Against Women Criminal Justice and Training Projects funding has moved to Jan. 23. Both rescheduled workshops will run from 9 a.m. to noon at CAPCOG's Austin offices.

After potential grantees attend the mandatory workshop for the grant in which they're interested and submit their applications to the Governor's Criminal Justice Division, the state agency will forward applications to CAPCOG for review, prioritization and recommendations.

> Learn more

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