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In the News

State legislators address CAPCOG General Assembly in Sept.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

State legislators who serve on the CAPCOG Executive Committee will participate in a panel discussion about the 86th Texas Legislative Session during CAPCOG’s Sept. 11, 2019 General Assembly Meeting to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin Airport, 7610 John Glenn Way.

Also during the meeting, CAPCOG General Assembly Representatives will adopt the 2019-20 fiscal year budget and elect its Nominating Committee, whose role it is to develop a slate of city and county elected officials to serve as the 2020 CAPCOG Executive Committee. A meeting agenda will be distributed in late August, but General Assembly Representatives are encouraged to RSVP.

> RSVP for the General Assembly meeting.
> Contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG Member Services Coordinator, for a complimentary lunch discount code or with questions about the meeting.

National Preparedness Month highlights importance of readiness, alerts

Thursday, August 15, 2019

In support of National Preparedness Month, CAPCOG developed a regional campaign to encourage residents to register for emergency alerts and prepare themselves for any emergency including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. It also is encouraging local governments to participate in recognizing the month.

“Emergency preparedness is the responsibility of every resident, and we want to encourage them to make it a priority because investing in the preparedness of ourselves, our families, businesses, and communities can reduce fatalities and economic devastation throughout our nation,” said Martin Ritchey, the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division director. “One of the easiest preparedness steps residents can take is signing up for local alerts at” allows local emergency service’s personnel to contact residents who are in areas affected by emergencies. While CAPCOG registers all landline and VoIP phones for the service, cellphones and email addresses must be voluntarily registered to receive messages via text, voice call or email. As part of this September’s campaign, CAPCOG has distributed thousands of promotional items for display in high traffic municipal and county offices. It also developed several digital items.

The CAPCOG executive committee recognized September as National Preparedness Month during its Aug. 14 meeting.

> View a draft version of its resolution.
> Find promotional ideas and materials.

Striking a Balance teaches family caregivers about life balance

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The upcoming 18th annual Striking a Balance Conference will convene local resources as well as local and national speakers that focus on successful coordination of family caregivers’ work, life, and caregiving responsibilities. The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Doubletree by Hilton Austin, 6505 North I-35.

“Caring for a family member or loved one is a huge responsibility and can feel overwhelming at times, but Striking a Balance is the place for caregivers to know they are not alone,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG Aging Services director who manages the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area which partners with AGE of Central Texas to host the event. “There are many organizations here to help and advise them through caregiving, and the biggest resource Striking a Balance offers caregivers is each other and their shared stories.”

Leading the conference will be keynote speaker Eboni Green, who holds a Ph. D. in human services and serves as the president and CEO of the Caregiver Support Services, a nonprofit that supports family and professional caregivers through direct training and consulting. Green will discuss grief and family dynamics related to caregiving. Green has extensive experience in dealing with caregiver’s health and wellness with an emphasis on caregiver stress, burnout and related family conflicts.

Caregivers will have the chance to attend several breakout sessions on topics such as combatting fraud and scams, home and medication safety tips, and taking a positive approach to caring for those with dementia. Breakouts sessions will take place before and after the keynote speech. Resource booths provided by local aging service organizations will be setup throughout the conference.

> Register to attend Striking a Balance.
> Find out more about the conference.

AGE’s Austin Adult Day Health Center is offering free off-site respite care for older adults by reservation. The center is at 3710 Cedar Street in Austin. To request respite, call AGE of Central Texas at 512-600-9275.

Air Quality program offers workshop on alternatives to gas powered vehicles for short trips

Thursday, August 08, 2019

The CAPCOG Air Quality Program will conduct a workshop for local government and transportation practitioners as well as policy makers to learn best practices and trends for using neighborhood electric vehicles to help reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion while increasing safety and access. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22, at CAPCOG, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165 in Austin.

By covering the topic of developing low-emission alternative networks lanes for low-speed and low- to no-emission vehicles, the workshop will focus on expanding mobility and meeting transportation goals. Facilitators for the workshop will led an interactive dialogue on how such transportation modes can improve safety, public health, equity and economic resilience. They also will discuss how other communities have implemented these transportation programs and possible funding opportunities for installing infrastructure.

> Register for the workshop.
> Learn more about the Air Quality Program.

CAPCOG is offering people the ability to participate in this workshop virtually; however, you must register to recieve the information to join the workshop online.

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 users. By being more inclusive of all the region’s transportation, 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 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. relaunches, improves experience

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The CAPCOG Regional Planning and Services Division upgraded the Commute Solutions program by updating the commute planning and tracking tool and website, The update makes it easier for residents to determine sustainable traveling options in an effort to lower the usage of single-occupancy vehicles leading to lower roadway congestion and improved air quality.

Changes to the website modernized its appearance while making it for easier for residents to plan and track their commutes. It now allows non-registered users to map an upcoming trip to see possible routes, including carpool, transit, biking, and walking options, while estimating the trip’s travel time, pollution contribution and cost. The tool is also available as an app for Android and Apple devices.

Registered users, can still find carpool partners and track the benefits of their more sustainable commutes over time. Other new features from the upgrade include:

  • New Program/Incentives for users
  • Community Events listings
  • Integrations with Waze, Waze Carpool, and Strava
  • Passive tracking through the mobile app users should have received an email asking them to transfer their previous account to the new platform. If they did not previously create an account, now is a great time to sign up.

> Check out or download the apps for iOS and Android.
> Learn more about the Commute Solutions Program.

New RLEA Director takes local, regional approach to training

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mike Jennings, former director of CAPCOG’s Regional Law Enforcement Academy from 2007 to 2015, returned to the position on May 20. Jennings, a 48-year veteran of policing, wants to ensure local jurisdictions have their pick of top caliber peace officers to staff their agencies and current law enforcement officers have the ability to learn and adapt to the ever changing job demands in their communities.

“This job is about providing high quality officers for every department throughout the region,” Jennings said. “CAPCOG works with all the agencies in the region to make sure it delivers officers that are tailored to their communities whether that is San Marcos, Llano or Fayette County.”

Before his previous stint at CAPCOG, Jennings served in the Houston Police Department, Jersey Village Police Department, Gillespie County Sheriff’s Office, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and on the Texas Jail Commission. He has worked a variety of positions from patrol officer to detective to jail administrator and holds many Texas Commission of Law Enforcement certificates to include Master Peace Officer, ALERRT Trainer, Advanced Instructor, SWAT, and Law Enforcement Fitness Specialist. In November 2015, Jennings became the Dublin Police Chief but returned to the region as a captain for Travis County Precinct 2 Constable.

He is looking forward to drawing from his experiences to shape better community officers. “I enjoy teaching young officers about how law enforcement has advanced over the years,” Jennings said. “I want to make sure cadets and officers evolve with the job, and that community policing is the most important part of their job. Officers have to know their community, their neighbors, because they are there to serve and protect them.”

> Learn more about RLEA.

Prepare for wildfire season by registering for alerts at

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Public safety officials and local advocates from around the region at a Warn Central Texas press conference in May urged Central Texas residents to prepare for the 2019 wildfire season by staying aware of their wildfire risk, mitigating dangers, and preparing themselves to act. Registering for local emergency alerts at and becoming a Firewise USA Community are two ways residents can stay vigilant. The wildfire season historically starts in May and can last until October.

“We like to say that wildfires are everyone’s fight in Central Texas,” said Justice Jones, Austin Fire Department wildfire mitigation officer. “Taking simple steps can ensure your home doesn’t ignite during a wildfire such as keeping debris from your gutters and trimming your trees to eliminate dead wood and leaf litter… and heeding warnings you receive through Warn Central Texas.” is a portal for residents to register cellphones and email addresses to receive emergency messages from local public safety officials using the regional notification system. The system can alert an entire city or county, or send hyper-local messages targeting neighborhoods or streets. Messages can include actionable alerts such as evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions. All CAPCOG member governments can use the tool.

The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program encourages neighbors to work together to prevent losses that could be caused by wildfires. The program educates and motivates people at the neighborhood level to take actions such as clearing excess brush and knowing evacuations routes or safe places to shelter in place. The Austin Firewise Alliance runs quarterly in-depth training to help community leaders make their neighborhoods more wildfire resilient and become Firewise; it welcomes all communities.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the wildfire risk will be higher during the late summer because of the year’s larger than average rainfall; increased rains create more vegetation providing more fuel for wildfires.

> Learn more about and the regional notification system.
> Learn how to become a Firewise USA community.

CAPCOG sends criminal justice grant priorities to governor

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The CAPCOG Executive Committee in May approved a prioritized list of recommended projects to receive funding from four Office of the Governor (OOG), Criminal Justice Division (CJD) grant programs ranking 54 applications from local governments and nonprofits. The OOG will select the final grant awardees and anticipates announcing them by October.

The OOG set the CAPCOG regional budget estimate at a combined $8.2 million for the four grant programs: General Victim Assistance Direct Services, Violence Against Women Justice and Training, Juvenile Justice Grant, and Criminal Justice. However, applications from the CAPCOG region requested more than $12.2 million, meaning the region is oversubscribed in all but one area — Violence Against Women Justice and Training. After reviewing other regions’ recommendations, the OOG may allocate more funding to CAPCOG area projects. To maximize regional funding through these grants, CAPCOG solicited more than 300 government and nonprofit organizations to set funding priorities for projects and to submit grant applications.

Annually, CAPCOG helps coordinate these grant awards by setting the region’s criminal justice priorities, holding grant writing workshops, and reviewing and ranking applications. The 2021 plan year grant process will start in October 2019 with stakeholder meetings.

> Find the list of grants.
> Read more about the CAPCOG Criminal Justice Program.

Basic peace officer courses turn cadets into everyday heroes

Monday, June 10, 2019

The CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy will conduct a full-time, day and a part-time, night Basic Peace Officer Course in October and November, respectively, so agencies region wide can have a greater pool of licensed peace officers to support their communities. Entrance exams will take place on June 28, July 19, and Aug. 16 at the CAPCOG offices, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165 in Austin.

“Right now we have a drastic need for police officers because of the current events,” said Mike Jennings, CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy director. Many police agencies across the region have vacancies and CAPCOG specifically tries to fill these positions as agencies throughout the ten counties assist in developing the academy’s curriculum beyond the state’s requirements.

CAPCOG is seeking open-minded people who make calm and sound decisions that are passionate about public service and are in good physical shape to join the academy. By the end of the more than 640-hour courses, academy graduates will have learned to be a greater community partner as a peace officer and will have earned not only their Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Basic Peace Officer License, but several advanced career certificates such as tactical police driving; OC spray; and community first aid, CPR and AED.

“By the time our cadets graduate, they become people who can make quick decisions and be held accountable for their actions, but foremost serve their neighbors, their community.” Jennings said.

> Read more about the academy.
> Register for an entrance exam.

Austin to buy Warn Central Texas kiosks to sign up residents

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The city of Austin is purchasing and programing digital kiosks to give residents greater access in registering to receive emergency warnings about natural and man-made disasters through CAPCOG’s  Warn Central Texas program. By registering their cellphone number or email address at, residents can receive critical, possibly life-saving, notifications from county and city public safety personnel.

With an anticipated July or August rollout, the kiosks will be decaled with branding and information, and its digital screen will be locked to the registration page. Kiosks will then either be placed in high-traffic areas or taken to city events allowing people to register their information at the direct point of contact whether that is while they wait to receive city services or while they are attending a fair, such as Earth Day Austin. is a prime online location for people to register on their own accord, but these kiosks allow the city to play a more active role in signing up residents. Other communities throughout the CAPCOG 10-county region also have taken more active steps to increase Warn Central Texas registrations. For example, Hays County registered residents using smart-tablets during its Emergency Preparedness Fair in September and Horseshoe Bay city staff asks to create accounts for residents who enter city hall.

> Learn how to promote
> Read about the Regional Notifications System.
> Find out more about the Homeland Security Division.

RPS assists with state and federal grant opportunities

Thursday, May 23, 2019

From economic development and infrastructure to sidewalks and fire trucks, the CAPCOG Regional and Planning Services Division has assisted local communities around the region with establishing projects that seek state and federal funding opportunities. CAPCOG’s goal is to help its communities identify issues and a possible funding to resolve them.

In recent months, CAPCOG has assisted cities and counties in applying for Economic Development Administration (EDA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) funds. It has worked on various aspects of the grant application process depending on a community’s needs to include identifying grant opportunities, assisting with grant writing, coordinated site visits, and researching and organizing data to support applications. It has been particularly skilled at assisting with community development and infrastructure project proposals. CAPCOG assisted in preparing six grant applications that requested $12 million for infrastructure projects from EDA disaster recovery funds for communities in Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette and Lee counties. While the disaster funding is limited to those four CAPCOG counties, the application process for the EDA’s public works infrastructure grant is very similar, and CAPCOG could assist other communities in seeking those monies.

CAPCOG also has helped two communities apply for TDA-Fast Grants, which helps procure fire trucks and ambulances for non-entitlement rural communities using Community Development Block Grant funds, and two TxDOT Transportation Alternatives and Safe Routes to Schools grants.

The EDA anticipates announcing grant recipients in late May; the other applications are under review by their awarding agency.

> Learn about the Economic Development Program.

Aging services rekindles relationship with SALT groups

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area is joining several Senior and Law Enforcement Together (SALT) organizations, so it can be a more accessible resource for policing agencies and older adults facing public safety issues. SALTs are local groups of policing agencies and older adults who work to decrease crime, the fear of crime, and improve victim assistance and public safety awareness among older residents.

“First responders can often be the first people called when older adults have an issue,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG Aging Services director. “Working with these local organizations allows us to educate peace officers and older adults on services the Area Agency on Aging and the Aging and Disability Resource Center provide as well as direct them to other nonprofit older adult services and supports.” The relationship is two-fold though as CAPCOG is also learning about crime-related issues older adults are facing in their local communities, so it can assist with prevention and victim services.

CAPCOG has attended SALTs in Round Rock and the Caldwell County, which includes Lockhart and Lulling, and is hoping to attend the Bastrop County group in the coming weeks.

> Contact Rhonda Thompson, CAPCOG Aging Services program specialist, to connect your local SALT to the Area Agency on Aging.
> Read more about the Agency.

Prepare for wildfire season by being Firewise and registering for WarnCentralTexas

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Emergency management and fire officials and local advocates urged Central Texas residents to prepare for the 2019 wildfire season, which started in May, by staying aware of their wildfire risk, actively mitigating dangers, and being prepared to act. Residents can accomplish these tasks by becoming a Firewise USA Community and registering at to get emergency alerts from local public safety personnel by text message, cellphone call, or email.

“We like to say that wildfires are everyone’s fight in Central Texas,” said Justice Jones, Austin Fire Department wildfire mitigation officer. “Taking simple steps can ensure your home doesn’t ignite during a wildfire such as keeping debris from your gutters and trimming your trees to eliminate dead wood and leaf litter… and heeding the warnings you receive through WarnCentralTexas.”

WarnCentralTexas is a free public service provided by the Capital Area Council of Governments in conjunction with the region’s cities and counties for individuals living, working or visiting Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson counties. The system allows emergency responders to send hyper-local, targeted emergency messages to people in specific neighborhoods or streets, which can include evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions.

Kari Hines, with the Texas A&M Forest Service, speaks with Will Boettner, Travis County Fire Marshall Office’s fire education outreach coordinator, about the wildfire season. The wildfire forecast state wildfires have a higher probability of being worse later in the summer. (photo by Connie Odom/Williamson County)

The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program encourages neighbors to work together to prevent losses that could be caused by wildfires. “We know wildfires are increasing in number and intensity,” said Randall Jamieson, a River Place neighborhood Firewise Community leader. Because of the Firewise USA Program, River Place residents have educated and motivated themselves to take their own risk-reduction actions and to know what parts of the neighborhood could serve as firebreaks or as a wildfire refuge to ensure their safety if an evacuation or shelter-in-place scenario is needed.

“Being a Firewise Community means being informed and taking action,” said Joyce Statz, Austin Firewise Alliance president. The alliance runs a quarterly in-depth training for community leaders to better understand how to make their neighborhoods more resilient against wildfires. Education and participation play big roles, she said, noting that a community event to clear brush can go a long way. Residents from all communities are welcome to learn from the alliance.

Kari Hines, with the Texas A&M Forest Service, said this year’s wildfire risk is going to increase later in summer because of the higher than average amount of rain the area has received: increased rains lead to more vegetation and provide more fuel for wildfires.

“You need to keep yourself as informed as possible,” said Will Boettner, Travis County Fire Marshall Office’s fire education outreach coordinator. “The best way to do that is to be tapped into the WarnCentralTexas system. Remember when green grass gets tall, it burns twice as tall.”

> Get Alerts at
> Learn about becoming a Firewise USA Community.
> Help promote
> Read about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

CAPCOG Homeland Security Director, Martin Ritchey, tell residents how signup for alerts at could save lives.CAPCOG Homeland Security Director, Martin Ritchey, tell residents how signup for alerts at could save lives.

Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program seeks bus projects

Monday, May 13, 2019
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The Texas Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program is accepting applications for the first round of funding with more than $58 million available for projects to replace or repower school buses, transit buses, and shuttle buses. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Any person or entity who operates school buses, transit buses, or shuttle buses, with at least 51 percent of the buses’ annual mileage in one of the priority areas may be eligible to apply for a grant. Areas include:

  • Austin Area: Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties 
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur Area: Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange counties 
  • Bell County
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Area: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise counties 
  • El Paso County 
  • Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Area: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties 
  • San Antonio Area: Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, and Wilson counties 

An eligible bus must be powered by a diesel engine and may be replaced or repowered with a new all-electric, diesel, or alternative fuel vehicle or engine. In addition:

  • School buses include a bus with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 14,001 pounds or greater and which is intended to carry students to and from school and related events. 
  • Transit and shuttle buses include a bus with a GVWR of 14,001 pounds or greater and which carry passengers on routes within a city or defined regional area. 

Informational workshops will be held throughout the month of May.

> Get the workshop schedule.
> Contact TxVEMP staff at 833-215- 8989 or with questions.

CAPCOG increases location accuracy for wireless 9-1-1 callers

Thursday, May 09, 2019

The CAPCOG Emergency Communications Division has installed new RapidSOS software at nearly all the 10-county region’s public safety answering points (PSAPs) to enhance the ability for emergency telecommunicators to pinpoint a caller’s location. During testing, the mapping technology produced a significantly more accurate location than traditional 9-1-1 location services.

“This technology upgrade gives a better chance of dispatching emergency services directly to a caller’s location even if the caller doesn’t know where they are,” said Melissa Reynolds, CAPCOG 9-1-1 operations coordinator. “This can save responders time and ultimately lead to saving lives.”

RapidSOS’s region-wide implementation in April provides emergency telecommunicators an additional source of caller location information. Telecommunicators still receive carrier-based cell tower location information when a 9-1-1 call is received, but now they see an additional dot on the map when a RapidSOS enabled device places the call. RapidSOS uses a cellphone's GPS if the phone is running iOS12, Android 4 or a higher version of the operating systems on a compatible device to send its location. However, RapidSOS is a best-effort service and may not be available for every 9-1-1 call placed.

CAPCOG has integrated the software with its 9-1-1 call mapping system at every PSAP except those using their own mapping systems — Austin-Travis County Combined Transportation and Emergency Communications Center, Williamson County Emergency Communications and the Round Rock 9-1-1 Center. Those agencies use a web-based version of the tool. Despite having the more accurate location information, CAPCOG continues to train emergency telecommunicators that the most accurate location information often comes from multiple sources, with the best location usually coming directly from the caller.

> Learn more about the Emergency Communications Division.

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