Texas Hill Country News

A Police Officer Speaks Out Against Decision to Defund the Austin Police

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After the city of Austin defunded its police department in mid-August, one Austin police officer spoke out against the decision with a passionate statement. The Austin city council gave unanimous approval for a cut of $150 million to the police budget—around one-third of its current budget—and to place the money in other services, such as abortion access. The decision came even as murder rates are spiking in the Texas capital.

All of this led one Austin officer to make an anonymous statement about the defunding. “We have served with the best of our ability for many years. We have missed anniversaries, birthdays, funerals, sports, and many other things so we could be there for you. When you called, we came. When you were being victimized, we stepped in and stopped it. When you were on your last breath, we gave you another and another… We stepped in when you couldn’t protect yourself. We saved your son’s, daughter’s, husband’s, aunt’s, brother’s, and sister’s.”

A Police Officer Speaks Out Against Decision to Defund the Austin Police

Photo: @Chalabala via Twenty20

His impassioned statement continued: “The day came when we needed your help, but you never showed. When we asked you to stand up and give us a voice, you remained silent. When we were at our lowest, you offered no help. When we were being attacked, you watched from afar. When the time came for you to fight for us, you stayed home and kept silent. (To those who didn’t, thank you.)

“The Austin Police Department has been almost completely defunded. There is barely enough to pay for our salary, medical care, and retirement. Now, when the wolf puts a bomb at your doorstep, we won’t be there. When a drunk driver kills your family member, we won’t be there. When your family member is drowning at the lake, we won’t be there. When someone crashes into your car, we won’t be there. When gangs take over your neighborhood, we won’t be there. When you’re assaulted on one of the many trails, we won’t be there. When your child is lost, we won’t be there to find them.”

A Police Officer Speaks Out Against Decision to Defund the Austin Police

Photo: @RLTheis via Twenty20

“We won’t be there because your Austin City Council has shut down almost every unit needed to keep you safe and be there for you. They took everything from you while you sat in silence. They did it for their own personal gain and agenda. They won’t be there for you and made sure we couldn’t either.”

Governor Abbott also issued a statement on the defunding, noting that some cities care more about political agendas than public safety. “Public safety is job one, and Austin has abandoned that duty,” the governor said. He remarked that the city council’s decision “paves the way for lawlessness.”