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Building 310, Suite 165
Austin, TX 78744

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In the News: News from July 2019

Environmental law course lets governments clean up crime

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Regional Environmental Task Force (RETF) and CAPCOG will lead two courses on how local governments can better prosecute environmental crimes and cleanup dumpsites and hazardous materials that threaten their resident’s health and safety. A basic and an intermediate environmental law course will be held at McKinney Roughs Nature Park, 1884 State Highway 71 in Cedar Creek, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 and 21, respectively.

The courses teach peace officers, code enforcement officers, sanitarians, and others best-practices for investigating environmental crimes, bringing individuals to trial, and abating dumpsites. RETF instructors discuss laws relating to unauthorized discharges in streams and lakes, solid waste regulations, nuisance violations, and outdoor burning as well as environmental crime trends. The intermediate course also focuses on hazardous waste violations and how personnel can identify hazardous chemicals. The RETF has more than 20 years of experience in combating environmental crimes and has partnered with CAPCOG since 2007 to train more than 600 people statewide.

> Register for the courses.

Peace officers, code enforcement officers, and sanitarians earn six-hours of continuing education for completing each course. The basic course also grants four-hours of continuing education to on-site sewage facility workers.

> Learn more about the RETF.

Aging Services director addresses older adult resiliency at state conference

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The CAPCOG Aging Services Director, Patty Bordie, emphasized the importance of fostering individual resiliency in older adults in her presentation at the state-wide Aging in Texas Conference in June. She discussed the perception of health, people’s ability to cope with stresses, the roles of social interaction and fitness on health, assessing individual resiliency, and how aging service providers can strengthen an individual’s resiliency.

“Older adult resiliency impacts physical health, especially when it comes to social supports,” Bordie said. “Those who self-report high levels of social supports are more likely to engage in preventative healthcare and stay more resilient, while those with less social support experience more anxiety, depression and a higher use of crisis healthcare interventions.”

As people age, barriers for maintaining one’s physical and social supports increase, but organizations such as Area Agencies on Aging exist to remove those barriers by providing supports such as transportation, congregate meals, health and wellness training, and more. The goals of such programs are to provide larger social engagement paired with physical independence, which reduce depression and isolation risk factors. For instance, congregate meals and health and wellness programs bring peers together to interact in a shared-experience environment while maintaining a level of physical and independent mobility. These spaces also allow older adults to provide peer support and share their pervious personal experiences, which contribute to resiliency.

“It is important to recognizing the ways Area Agencies on Aging already support individual resilience,” Bordie said. “But there are still opportunities for more social support, and people should recognize the value of giving this through volunteering.”

> Learn about the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP).
> Find a AAACAP service.

RPS updates CARTS Maps, adds them to myCommuteSolutions

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

CAPCOG’s Regional Planning and Service Division partnered with the Capital Area Rural Transit System (CARTS) to update the transportation system’s interurban coach maps making them more accessible to daily commuters including myCommuteSolutions.com users. By being more inclusive of all the region’s transportation, myCommuteSolutions.com becomes a more powerful tool for those attempting to sustainably travel through the metropolitan area. 

CARTS’ interurban coach routes run between Austin, Bastrop, Burnet, Georgetown, Round Rock, Liberty Hill, Smithville, La Grange, and others cities to provide a connection between those communities and the Capital Metro and Grey Hound bus systems. The partnership generated a more data friendly map of each route’s stops, which can be used to provide more accurate information to CARTS riders and easily be integrated into other websites. CAPCOG has already inputted the map’s data into myCommuteSolutions.com allowing for metropolitan commuters, who use the web-based tool and its mobile applications, to better plan and track their commute across multiple sustainable modes of transportation and through multiple cities.

> Find out more about CARTS.
> Check out myCommuteSolutions.
> Read about the CAPCOG GIS Program.

RLEA adds in-service courses to finish TCOLE training period

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) is offering more than 20 in-service courses in Austin and around the region to ensure peace officers receive their mandatory 40-hours of continuing education and other required training before the end of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, two-year training period on August 31.

“We want to make sure that all area officers are meeting TCOLE’s standards and requirements before the period ends, so they stay in compliance with the licensing requirements,” said Mike Jennings, CAPCOG RLEA director. CAPCOG is offering 13 training courses in July and eight in August. The courses include Eye Witness and Evidence Identification, which is required for those with an investigator certificate; Canine Encounters; Basic Civil Process; and a range of others mandated for every officer to keep their license such as the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training. 

CAPCOG will instruct the 2-hour Civilian Interaction Training four times in July as all officers are required to complete it before Jan. 1, 2020. Two of the courses are scheduled to be held at CAPCOG on July 9, while two others will take place in Blanco County later in the month.

Officers are also required to complete the State and Federal updates before the period ends, but currently none are scheduled. If a police department, sheriff’s offices or other policing agency would like to schedule the course or any others before September, they should contact Jennings.

Besides peace officers, emergency telecommunicators will need to complete 20-hours of continuing education and deputy constables need to take Basic Civil Process by Aug. 31. Correctional officers and jailers will also need to complete the Mental Health Officers course by August 2021 if they didn’t receive it during training.

> Find and register to attend RLEA courses.
> Read more about RLEA.

Flood resiliency workshop to be foundation for regional plan

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) and CAPCOG will conduct a Capital Area Regional Flood Management Planning Workshop that lays the foundation for developing a regional plan on the topic by bringing together local jurisdictions and state and federal agencies. The workshop will be an all-day event on Tuesday, July 16, at CAPCOG, 6800 Burleson Road, building 310 in Austin.

“Floods are often regional in nature, and what happens upstream has an impact downstream; subsequently, mitigation measures to minimize flooding severity should be evaluated both locally and regionally to maximize the effectiveness of saving lives and reducing property loss,” said Craig Eissler, CAPCOG GIS Program Manager, whose been coordinating the workshop with the EPA.

Workshop attendees will collaborate on sharing resources for community and regional flood resiliency by gathering information about each jurisdictions’ roles and responsibilities to identify interagency linkages needed to support a baseline for a Regional Flood Management Plan. They also will identify information gaps and determine what water- and flood-related projects and activities are underway that support drafting the plan.

Representatives from FEMA and NOAA also will present on flood management data, resources and tools available to Texas counties and cities. Besides local government officials, CAPCOG and the EPA have invited representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey; Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas General Land Office, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, Texas A&M Agri-life Extension Office, and others to attend the workshop

> Find out more about the GIS Program.
> Learn about water in Central Texas.

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