Drivers warned, ‘enter at your own risk’ after Austin cuts police funding

After Austin cut police funding, a Texas police group is warning drivers to enter at their own risk.

  • In August, the city of Austin, Texas voted to cut $150 million from the police budget.
  • Now, the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) has put up #BackTheBlue billboards informing drivers that Austin has defunded the police.
  • TMPA writes that they feel it is their duty and responsibility “to raise public awareness of the dangers of defunding not just Austin, but any city across the U.S.”
Source: Daily Mail / TMPA Twitter

The Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) has put up billboards on Austin city limits warning drivers that Austin has defunded the police. According to FOX News, the two billboards read: “Warning! Austin defunded police. Enter at your own risk!” and “Limited support next 20 miles”. The police group announced the release of the billboards on Facebook as they wrote:

BIG TMPA NEWS!Today, TMPA released two billboards (pictured below), along Interstate 35, entering Austin, intended to…

Posted by TMPA on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

This comes after the police department’s budget was cut by a third.

After months of protests, countless cases of police brutality, and fatal shootings, the police have faced a significant cut in their budget. The Texas Tribune reported that in August, the ‘Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut its police department budget by $150 million‘. This money would now be invested elsewhere with $21 million being put into emergency medical services, domestic violence shelters and programs for the homeless, $80 million into a ‘Decouple Fund’, and $49 into a ‘Reimagine Safety Fund’. According to the Daily Mail, the Decouple Fund is intended to transfer several civilian services outside of the police department whereas the Reimagine Safety Fund will ‘divert dollars from the fund toward alternative forms of public safety and community support, through the yearlong reimagining process.’

The decision to cut police funding faced criticism.

Taking a case in point, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott uploaded a video on Twitter, saying that defunding the police is a ‘reckless action’ which ‘invites crime into our communities’. In the video, he calls on Texans to sign a pledge against defunding the police:

Despite criticism, officials believe the new budget is necessary.

In a thread on Twitter, Austin Mayor Steve Adler explained that the new budget ‘maximizes officer effort and invests in effective, proactive programs and strategies that will make Austin a place where less crime happens in the first place’. What is more, he wrote that ‘it begins the fundamental work of changing culture, preventing crime, and allowing our police officers to focus on crime with the goal of making Austin — a safe city — even safer.’

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