Austin City Council’s Decision Shows No Regard for Future Safety of Citizens and Police Officers

I will never understand why local city governments don’t want to take better care of their police.

Maybe they don’t think they’re worth the budget. Or maybe it’s the way the “defund the police” riots following the death of George Floyd somehow convinced them they’re more trouble than they should be.

Whatever the case, the Austin City Council is setting an example right now of how not to treat police officers. And if we’re not careful, the popular Texas city could soon find itself descending into chaos, if it hasn’t already.

The Austin Police Department had proposed a new contract to its City Council just days prior, calling for the hiring of 200 officers by the end of next year, with an additional 200 by the end of 2025. As well, officers would’ve received a well-deserved 14 percent raise over four years’ time with the contract.

Instead, the City Council chose to take the “cheap” way out, overwhelmingly voting to pursue a one-year contract extension instead. This came after former city manager Spencer Cronk noted that it was a bad idea to go with the smaller contract.


And now the city is on the brink of seeing what happens when it doesn’t take care of its police force.

Over the weekend, car clubs attempted to block off intersections throughout the city in an effort to set up street racing. However, law enforcement opted to step in, creating a riot that left one officer injured and several police vehicles damaged.

Of course, they were just doing their job. But what followed has created a rift between officers and city council members, one that simply won’t end easily.

Over on Twitter, the Austin Police Association posted a clip of the street race riot. It also stated, “Austin policy makers are directly responsible for the overall safety of their citizens and visitors. Looks like they failed to make the right decision and continue to defund, destroy and demoralize public safety. Austin was one of the safest cities, not anymore.”

Can you blame them? All they wanted was a fair contract extension, and instead they got the cold shoulder because Austin City Council officials wanted to put their budget elsewhere. 

But, of course, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson refused to accept responsibility for the Council’s mistake. Instead, along with condemning his own citizens for taking part in the riot, he also pointed a finger at the police union, noting it had made “false comments” that “wrongly conflate this illegal incident with important community conversations about safety and oversight.”

First, where are these “false comments”? Your Council officially denied this long-deserved contract and didn’t provide enough good reasoning behind it. And secondly, your Council is putting them in harm’s way instead of providing them the support they require to keep these unruly rioters at bay. 

The point is that such future riots or dangers will be more difficult to keep under control with a police force that is underpaid and underfunded. 

It’s just another example of a local government that thinks it knows better. But not seeing what they go through on the front lines, they can’t possibly have a clear picture of what these people face.  

What they’re asking for – more staff and better funding – isn’t that large a request. It’s a matter of keeping a city safe from incidents like this, instead of simply yelling who’s to blame. Anyone can throw the blame to someone else, but it takes a noble leader to accept responsibility and fix the situation. 

Otherwise, such dangerous events will continue to take place in Austin, injuring more officers and putting citizens at risk. 

Change is needed. Officers are needed. Safety is needed.


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