Austin Nears Disaster From ‘Defund The Police’ Movement

The 2020 leftist movement to “defund the police” found a home in Austin, Texas. The City Council did exactly that, and now its fed-up residents are paying a heavy price with extreme staffing shortages and long 911 response times.

How heavy? Last week an area of the city reportedly went completely without police protection for hours due to the lack of manpower.

Austin Police Association President Michael Bullock explained to Fox News Digital the dire straits the city faces. “Previous councils and leadership have actively worked against our officers and department, which has now put us in a free-falling staffing crisis.”

Bullock noted that twice the city’s police contract was voted down or permitted to lapse.

The lack of support led to a loss of officers for Austin during every year since 2017. The city’s police force steadily shrank, to the detriment of specialized units that protect its residents.

Detectives are now forced into patrol duty just to handle the influx of 911 calls.

While the city has grown by more than 250,000 residents, police staffing has shrunk to a level reflective of the force 15 years ago. Bullock added, “Combine that with a district attorney who has made it very clear that targeting officers and releasing criminals is his priority — not public safety.”

It was 2020, in the aftermath of the violent Black Lives Matter riots, that city officials attacked policing.

The Austin City Council by unanimous vote stripped up to $150 million from the police budget. That represented 34% of the projected outlay.

Among those targeted by the defunding was the anti-gang task force and other specific efforts to protect the city. Local political leaders justified this travesty by noting the ethnicity of those investigated for gang membership and activities.

This resulted in major pushback from the Texas Legislature. Lawmakers in 2021 moved to counter the short-sighted effort and forced Austin officials to restore the budget to its previous levels.

But the damage was done. The lack of respect and prioritizing first responders resulted in a mass departure from the force, and the effects are only getting worse.