AUSTIN — The Austin City Council is considering an ordinance that will add a reserve police force to the Austin Police Department. If passed, the reserve force will consist of up to 75 officers appointed by the Austin chief of police.

The plan to vote on this ordinance comes after Mayor Kirk Watson attempted to end the Texas Department of Public Safety and Austin Police Department partnership last week.

The Ordinance 

According to the proposed city ordinance, each volunteer reserve officer will be equipped with a firearm at the discretion of the chief of police. Additionally, this ordinance will allow retired police officers to volunteer and serve in a supplementary role with the APD.

The ordinance explicitly states that the 75 event reserve officers are “not [members] of the classified service of the police department under Chapter 143.”  This means that reserve force would only be used in special circumstances.

History of Conflicting Messages 

Yet, despite the fact that the reserve officers will not be classified as members of the APD, Austin Justice Coalition President Chas Moore believes implementing this reserve force could be beneficial.

“I think anything that can free up some manpower [or] womanpower for the APD to do what they need to do to protect the residents of Austin, Texas, is fine,” Moore said. “Anything to help the DPS mosey on out of here.”

Founded in 2015, AJC protested against the APD in 2020, calling for the City of Austin to “decrease the APD budget by $100 million.” Subsequently, in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Austin officials voted to decrease the APD budget by $153 million.

This resulted in the APD cutting more than 150 positions and three separate cadet classes.

Currently, the APD has more than 330 vacancies and continues to experience an increase in retirements. In the first three months of 2023 alone, 97 APD officers resigned. Additionally, over the weekend, the overwhelmed APD opened four homicide investigations into six deaths.

However, the severe staffing shortages have forced the APD to put their detectives on 90-day shifts to help with patrolling. In response, Matt Mackowiak, co-founder of Save Austin Now, took to Twitter to express his frustration with the City of Austin.

“This is why we need a fully staffed APD,” Mackowiak tweeted. “Cheap talk from Austin City council is not getting the Job done…Enough is Enough.”

APD Overwhelmed

On Wednesday, the APD pulled detectives away from the four homicide investigations to assist in regular patrol duties.

Austin City Councilwoman Mackenzie Kelly believes that pulling detectives away from their cases will result in unsolved crimes.

“I’ve spoken to officers who hold the detective role, and they’ve told me that they’re frustrated just like everybody else if they don’t have the amount of time that they need to dedicate to solving crimes,” Kelly told CBS Austin.

Mackowiak believes enacting leftist ideology has led to the APD’s staffing crisis and the increase in crime in Austin.

Bowing to radical activists whose goal is police abolition has brought us to a crisis point.

The city will vote on the ordinance on Thursday.

Matthew DeLaCruz

Matthew DeLaCruz is a Cedar Park native and is a sophomore journalism and mass communications major at Abilene Christian University. Matthew is a summer writing fellow at Texas Scorecard and loves bringing relevant stories to citizens. When he is not writing, you can catch Matthew lifting weights, playing basketball and eating ice cream with his friends.