The city of Austin was already a couple hundred officers short when its mayor, Democrat Steve Adler, and its all-Democrat city council voted unanimously to defund the police.
In the heat of the riots that gripped the city and the nation, and with no forethought at all for the likely consequences, the city council enacted the largest by percentage police cut in the nation, slashing about $140 to $150 million of its $435 million police budget. New York City cut $1 billion from its police budget, the largest cut overall, but that cut amounted to about 10% of its police funds. Austin’s cut amounted to about one third. Minneapolis is still squabbling over an $8 million cut (and it’s suffering a massive crime surge and trying to convince other jurisdictions to supply officers). Austin’s city council went big and quickly became a laughingstock.
Crime in the city soared. Austin at one point led the nation for the percentage increase in homicides. The cuts the city council approved haven’t even kicked in yet. They will start taking effect in January 2021, at which time more experienced officers like Officer Lindsay Thorsenston will leave the force in greater numbers. According to the Austin Police Association, about 140 officers have left APD just in 2020.
Canceling cadet classes is among the most serious cuts, as it robs the APD of its future officers while long-time officers are retiring, some early, or finding other ways to leave the force — which, as noted above, was already a couple hundred officers short before any of this started. Thanks to the city council’s cuts, which Adler insists aren’t cuts, APD is getting close to being 400 officers short.
Adler went on a brief media campaign attempting to convince the city that he and the all-Democrat city council hadn’t actually defunded the police. He convinced no one. It probably wasn’t helpful to him that Councilmember Greg Casar, the most radical member of the council and its ideological leader, kept on bragging about defunding the police.
During a work session this week, Adler made a U-turn. He called for the city to speed up police cadet classes.
That’s good news, right? The fact that Adler is even discussing moving up future cadet classes suggests he can read a poll and is now aware that the cause he has championed is a loser. Is he serious about making a change for the better?
In a city council work session Tuesday, Adler stressed to his colleagues that he wants to see their efforts to “reimagine public safety” and a new tide of officers work together hand in hand.
“Reimagine” should be your first clue. That word must be banished from public policy discussions.
“It’s my hope that an upcoming class could really be among the change makers and change agents,” Adler said.
The mayor expanded, “I think that future cadet classes make sure that we have that kind of police force and present a real opportunity to make sure we have the kind of police training that we want, and that we create and integrate real cultural change agents onto the force, and we use those cadet classes to improve racial diversity within APD.”
Austin’s city council, all left-wing Democrats, is as woke as woke gets. Adler only wants the future cadet classes sped up if the cadets are subjected to the “kind of police training” he and his other leftists want, so they will be “change agents” of the type this infantile city council desires.
That means they will be subjected to Marxist critical race theory classes, mandatory, no exceptions. One could even suspect that such training will supersede their basic law enforcement training. The city council has shown little understanding of what police work is all about.
So, Austin, capital of Texas, get ready for the woke police.
Gov. Greg Abbott may still just have to take the whole thing over.