Austin voted to strip a significant of money away from the police department in August even though violent crimes were already on the rise.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed he received draft language for a law for the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) to take over the Austin Police Department (APD).
Abbott’s decision comes a few months after the Austin City Council voted to strip APD’s budget by almost one-third.
Just in time for Christmas:
The Legislative Council has sent draft language for a proposed law that would transfer control of the Austin Police Department to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
One way or another we will pass a law to keep Austin safe.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 21, 2020
— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) December 21, 2020
Abbott already promised he would pass this legislation in the upcoming session.
U.S. Attorney says “defunding the Austin Police Department” is contributing to the dramatic increase in violent crimes in Austin.
The state will fix this.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 18, 2020
In August, the Austin City Council, the capital of Texas, voted in September “to cut $20 million from APD’s budget, in addition to transitioning $130 million out over a year.”
Abbott did not approve of the move. He mentioned that the TDPS could take over the APD.
The legislature sent him a proposal almost right away in September:
“This proposal for the state to takeover the Austin Police Department is one strategy I’m looking at,” Abbott tweeted in response to an article from Reform Austin. “We can’t let Austin’s defunding & disrespect for law enforcement to endanger the public & invite chaos like in Portland and Seattle.”
The cities have experienced months of sometimes violent protests and controversial intervention of federal agents. In Portland, protesters and counter-protesters clashed after a President Donald Trump rally last month, and a member of a far-right political organization was fatally shot.
The potential legislation, sent last week to Abbott by former Texas House members and parliamentarians Terry Keel and Ron Wilson, would allow for a city with a population over 1 million and less than two police officers per 1,000 residents — a bucket Austin falls into — to have its police force consolidated with the Texas Department of Public Safety. The state’s law enforcement branch would take over the local police department and form a new entity if the governor decided there were “insufficient municipal resources being appropriated for public safety needs,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Texas Tribune.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler claimed “Austin is the safest big city in Texas and one of the safest in the country.”
However, statistics show that Austin’s “murder rate increased by 55% over 2019” even before the council stripped the APD’S budget.
But “murders were up by 54% in July and aggravated assaults were also up by 17%.”DONATE
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