As the all-Democrat Austin City Council prepares to slash the local police budget, citizens are warning them of the harmful consequences.
This week, the council is beginning to finalize next year’s city budget, and they are currently preparing to cut over $150 million—a third—from the Austin Police Department. The council has been pressured by leftist groups to defund the local police despite a recent slew of nationwide riots and lawlessness that have left a trail of burned cities, destroyed livelihoods, and murdered citizens.
The council is considering actions such as canceling three upcoming police cadet classes, removing vacant officer positions, cutting the department’s overtime budget, closing the police academy for a year, and even demolishing the police headquarters downtown.
And lest citizens see a potential silver lining in tax savings, the council has indicated they will simply take all of that taxpayer money and spend it on other city projects, ironically and tragically including the killing of children.
Citizens are speaking out against the council’s ideas.
“This tweet from Austin City Council member [Greg Casar] makes me sick,” one individual tweeted, referring to the council’s self-proclaimed socialist. “What’s Casar’s plan to make Austin safer? ‘Less Police, More Abortions.’”
“Data says your recommendations have made us less safe, not more,” tweeted tech analyst Patrick Moorhead. “[Austin is] #1 in murder growth and #3 in robberies. Why should anyone trust your new, fairytale policies? Zero effectiveness. Anywhere, any city. #SocialistPlaybook”
“Today will go down in history as the day Austin Texas died at the hands of radical leftist socialists like [Council Members Jimmy Flannigan and Greg Casar] & it was allowed to happen by the rest of the council by [Mayor Steve Adler],” wrote Dennis Farris, a board member of the Austin Police Retired Officers Association.
“Many voting residents of Austin would be pleased to see the Austin City Council lead by example & end the ‘Executive Protection’ program which assigns police resources to patrol the homes of council members, among additional duties,” one individual wrote. “In these times of sacrifice, that’s leadership.”
Former Austin City Councilmember Ora Houston said that while the local police could certainly be reformed, simply slashing them isn’t the answer.
“The police department needs to do something about the culture, but also when you take money from the police, there perhaps are some unintended consequences when we don’t take the time to think it through,” Houston said.
She added she’s heard from community members that they don’t actually want to see the streets of Austin depleted of police presence.
“They don’t want it defunded, whatever that means to whomever you’re talking to. But they do want it reformed, and because of the rate that Austin is growing, they do see the need for more officers on the street,” she said.
Indeed, a recent Gallup poll revealed 81 percent of black Americans want police to spend the same amount of time or more in their neighborhoods, and upwards of 90 percent said they also want better interactions with officers.
But meanwhile, the Austin City Council is insistent on simply stripping away a desired public safety presence from the city.
“It’s time to take Austin back from the radical Marxists,” tweeted Central Texas Congressman Chip Roy.
Concerned citizens can contact the city council.