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Austin Police Department: Can It Be Saved?

By Blue Canaries

Truth be told – Austin Police Department is currently on a ventilator in an Intensive Care Unit. Many people do not quite understand what the Austin City Council, the Mayor, and City Manager did last summer to the department. They literally scalped the Police Department down to the bare minimum. Not only did they cut one-third or $150 million dollars from their budget, they also eliminated 100 vacant positions that they currently had, and they stopped the Department from having another Police Academy for over a year. There are no departments in our nation which have endured such drastic changes in such a short amount of time, while the City continues to grow in population.

The City of Austin was repeatedly warned that the changes would be a threat to the safety of the community. With staffing levels drastically cut, Austin PD had no choice but to eliminate some very critical units, including the DWI Unit, as well as Mounted Patrol Unit, which always handled the crowds of 6th Street. Even with staffing of downtown at 100%, on the early morning of June 13, when the mass shooting incident took place, all units in the North Austin area had to respond and left only ONE Officer to patrol all of North Austin. This was overheard on the Broadcastify scanner channel that morning. Needless to say, this is unacceptable and citizens in Austin should applaud the actions of APD, but be madder than hell at the City leaders which have left areas of Austin without Patrol Officers, DWI Units, and other Police Units which have been vital to keeping crime low in Austin all of the years. Austin PD already had a shortage of 100 Officers last summer and then the Defund the Police movement had those positions eliminated, as well as the next 3 Academy classes canceled. In the meantime, the Department has been losing about 20 Officers a month from resignations and retirements. The City just approved one Academy class, but APD Officers have been required to attend mandatory Critical Race Theory classes in exchange for the City allowing that class to take place. This is how the City of Austin negotiates. So they get something in return for allowing APD to hold an Academy class which they desperately need. The Cadets, from the Academy class which just started, will not be cut loose on their own until around May of 2022, so the staffing issues will only grow more dire over the next year. By the end of 2021, APD is on target to be down more than 200 positions from summer of 2020 and that does not include the 100 positions which were eliminated. This was the greatest threat that Chief Manley discussed in this interview.

Perhaps the biggest LIE which is now being reported to the citizens of Austin is that in which the defunding of APD has had no effect on the crime rate. Before the blood had even been cleaned off the streets from the mass shooting this past weekend, Mayor Adler publicly reported that Austin is still one of the safest cities in America. You should see for yourself what is happening. In the latest Chiefs Monthly Report for April 2021, you will note first off the 167% increase in murders for the month of April from the previous year. As you go down the list, it appears to get better with some things highlighted in green boxes. What these numbers do not tell you is that the Travis County DA’s Office is not prosecuting as many of these crimes and some crimes are not being prosecuted at the same rate anymore. They also like to make plea deals. For example, if a suspect is charged with multiple charges, they will get offered a plea deal. Most commonly, if they plead guilty to the lesser charge, the higher charge will be dropped. The true crime numbers are difficult to see with all the changes being made currently. Officers working in a specific crime units are having their units eliminated. Below, I have included a Monthly Chief’s Report from April 2021 and 2018. One specific entry that was tracked in 2018 was DWI’s. Unsure of why this fell off of the list, but it was not included on the 2020 April report either. Maybe this part of their plan, because Austin PD no longer has a DWI or Traffic Enforcement Unit. Perhaps, they have been anticipating this change and decided to drop it? I do not know the reason why these units were dismantled other that the fact, APD just does not have enough Officers for all the calls they get. So if you see someone that appears to be driving drunk, its on you to call it in because there is no specific unit looking for drunk drivers anymore.

Take a look at Robbery cases for April 2021, now look at Robbery cases for 2018. The numbers have relatively stayed the same in three years time, while most other related crimes have increased. The DA’s Office can decide whether or not someone gets charged with these lesser crimes or not. This is how the crime data is able to be skewed from accurately displaying true crime numbers. It appears that Austin is still a safe city, even though ALL violent crimes are increasing.

With the population increases in the past decade in Austin, it is just ludicrous to be rolling back the number of Police Officers. This is why we are seeing a dramatic increase in crime. The criminals have learned that Austin is an easy target and know just where to go to prey on people. Not only that, they have also learned that in Travis County they can get away with certain crimes. They are allowing the criminals to have more rights than victims and there are no consequences for many crimes anymore. Just last week, two aggravated (armed) robbery suspects were given PR bonds, where they can just sign their name on a promise to appear and then walk out of jail. The citizens of Austin are the only HOPE if APD is to be saved now. The citizens must breathe life back into the Department. They must get louder than those who wish to continue to pull the plug. The citizens must DEMAND that the City Council change course with the Defund the Police measures. They have to support the Austin Police Department over those who wish to kill it.

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