AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council has slashed $150 million from the Austin Police Department’s budget, roughly 34 percent of the agency’s $434 million total budget.
Public debate is over. The deal is done.
The move comes after months of protests throughout the city, calling for defunding the police, KVUE reported.
The budget cuts will cancel all three upcoming cadet classes, reduce officer overtime pay and remove vacant officer positions, according to the proposal Councilmember Greg Casar distributed.
Almost $80 million of the cuts will separate certain functions from APD, such as the 911 Call Center and Special Investigations Unit. The remaining $49 million in cuts will defund APD units including mounted patrol, traffic enforcement and lake patrol. That money would be put on hold as council members “reimagine” public safety over the course of a year.
The council vote was unanimous. The new budget cycle goes into effect October 1, 2020.
These are some of the police department units that were cut or reduced during the budget approval:
- 911 Call Center – $17.7 million
- Forensic Sciences – $12.7 million
- Support Services – $14.1 million
- Community Partnerships – $2.5 million
- Victims Services – $3.1 million
- Internal Affairs – $4.5 million
- Special Investigations – $1.8 million
- Special Events – $4.4 million
- Mounted Patrol – $2.1 million
- Traffic Enforcement – $18.4 million
- Austin Regional Intelligence Center – $2 million
- Park Police – $5.8 million
- Lake Patrol – $1.4 million
- Organized Crime/K-9 – $1.2 million
- Nuisance Abatement – $312,000
- Canceling 3 Cadet Classes – $2.2 million this year
- Officer Overtime – $2.8 million
- License Plate Readers – $133,000
“This is ‘reimagining’ public calamity,” one local resident told Law Officer.
Austin cops have been left in a leadership vacuum, according to several sources. “The city is bending over backwards to appease malcontents,” one officer said.
“I don’t think the city actually has a plan,” said another, “They just wanted to slash our budget for the sake of it.”
“Absolutely reckless,” said yet another officer speaking to Law Officer. “They have no idea what they are doing. They plan to outsource things to civilians who do not have police powers. It’s gonna be a cluster f***.”