You might expect this up the left coast like California, Oregon and Seattle, and a few other Blue states, but Texas? Seriously?
This right here is why Right-of-Center Texans run with that slogan ‘Don’t California my Texas’.
It was bad enough when cities like New York, Seattle and LA were committing functional suicide by gutting their police forces. But why would Austin have to follow suit, too?
The Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut its police department budget by $150 million on Thursday, after officers and the city’s top cop faced months of criticism over the killing of an unarmed Black and Hispanic man, the use of force against anti-police brutality protesters and the investigation of a demonstrator’s fatal shooting by another citizen.
Those criticisms coincided with protests across Texas and the country calling for reforms on police tactics and the “defunding” of law enforcement in favor of redistributing funds to social services and alternative public safety programs. The council’s move makes Austin the first of Texas’ four biggest cities to drastically cut police department funding. The share of the police department budget that was cut is among the largest percentage decreases in the nation this year.
Council member Greg Casar, who crafted the three-tiered plan to reduce the police department budget, said when the Austin community organizes and asks for change, he wants to make sure the council can respond effectively. —TexasTribune
So, what kind of cuts are we looking at? And what spending priorities are taking their place?
They’ll be diverting funds to increase access to abortion, for one.
The proposal to cut police funding by about one-third of its total $434 million budget calls for immediately cutting around $21.5 million from the department, according to a document put together by council members. But city spokesperson Andy Tate said Thursday that the number was closer to $20 million.
These immediate cuts would include eliminating funding from three planned police cadet classes and reallocating funds to areas like violence prevention, food access and abortion access programs. However, the council said it may allow one or two cadet classes to begin in fiscal year 2021 if a revised curriculum is completed and a “more appropriate recruitment program” is implemented. It will also consider attrition rates, pension impacts and additional funding as factors influencing its decision on cadet classes. —TexasTribune
Cutting funding to police cadet classes seems a spectacularly bad idea in light of an article published just last week:
The average number of officers and cadets leaving the Austin Police Department each month has more than doubled since the end of 2017 and increased by nearly 34% through mid-June compared to 2019.
The increased rate of departures has sparked concerns within the department about its ability to perform its duties as city leaders tee up major cuts to the police budget. –Officer
That’s your taxpayer dollars at work, Texas.
What does the Governor have to say about it?
“Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety,” said Abbott. “Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk and paves the way for lawlessness. Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty. The legislature will take this issue up next session, but in the meantime, the Texas Department of Public Safety will stand in the gap to protect our capital city.” —MyParisTexas
So, depending on how the legislature responds, this may not be the final chapter of this story.