Texas state troopers are being forced to step in and help Austin, as the liberal-run capital city is struggling to keep enough police officers on the streets.
The president of the Austin Retired Officers Association said on “Fox & Friends First” Wednesday that the problems started in 2020 with the “defund” movement, with officer departures and retirements surging in the past three years.
“In 2020, the city council, in its infamous wisdom, decided to defund the Austin Police Department and start attacking the fine women and men of the Austin Police Department by cutting 150 positions and siding with the activists who want to abolish the police department,” said Dennis Farris, who added that the ongoing bashing of cops by the city council is contributing to low morale among officers.
“Officers are retiring early, they’re retiring when they can, and officers who can go to other departments are quitting and going to other departments. There’s going to be 88 officers who have retired by the end of March of this year. So by the end of April, I expect that number to be close to 100.”
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Farris emphasized that it takes a year to train a new officer to replace one who leaves.
“Austin is really, really hurting. The crime rate is going up, the violent crime is going up, the traffic fatalities are going up. There’s basically no traffic enforcement in Austin right now. And it just it’s not sustainable. So something had to be done.”
On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to assist Austin by “providing a data-driven violent crime suppression task force composed of troopers, special agents, and intelligence-level policing.”
“I have every confidence that Texas Department of Public Safety will bring enough troopers in to help with this issue,” said Farris.
Farris said DPS serves the state’s 254 counties and bringing one trooper from each would mean an additional 254 officers in the city.
Farris’ comments come one week after a local couple expressed outrage after it took Austin police over two hours to respond to 911 calls when their vehicle was hit head-on by a suspected drunk driver.
The couple, who had their two young children in the car, claimed the hours-long response time allowed the driver to sober up and walk away with only a minor traffic violation.
“We do not have enough police officers here,” attorney Adam Loewy said.
“The real-life consequence of that is what Lacey and Dustin just went through. You call a police officer, there’s not enough police officers, and you sit out there on a road injured with your children and no one shows up for two and a half hours. It is disgraceful.”
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