The National Police Association recently published a piece regarding Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the state Legislature considering the option to consolidate the Austin Police Department with the Texas Department of Public Safety, transforming Austin cops into state troopers. With all the barking about defunding police forces, Austin City Council is notably on board with such a maneuver, placing its roughly 2640 sworn police officers closer to harm’s way by reducing resources to perilous proportions.
While Austin’s city governance seeks to diminish its police force, Texas state leadership strives to ensure public safety remains paramount for the city’s approximately one million residents.
While such a political chess match is played —allowing critical thinking to formulate a decent plan for public safety— Austin’s populace and everyone who visits the Texas capitol city faces increased perils stemming from aggregated anarchists roaming the Lone Star state’s fourth-most-populous locale.
For now, though, Austin’s stability is anything but, stemming from the anti-police ideologies emanating from city council hallways and some radical constituents making noise out on Austin’s avenues. The city’s ecosystem is direly imbalanced.
Retired police Chief Joel F. Shults iterated some pertinent factors directly relatable to our topic, especially about Austin’s commerce, impacts to the tax base, and Austinites: “It was hard enough for small business owners to make a living in urban areas before the destructive riots, and even before COVID. Businesses offering services to underserved areas have additional challenges but remained for those who needed access to food and other goods in their own neighborhoods. These are some of the hardest hit from recent days of civil unrest. Recovering from looting, vandalism, and fear is not as simple as filing an insurance claim. A loss of police protection is unsustainable. Many are leaving, seeking opportunity elsewhere.
“Many areas thrive partly because people want to travel to or through the area. As travel is increasing after COVID, who wants to go to areas where there is no guarantee of safety or police response? The vitality and diversity of many communities relies on visitors having good travel experiences, whether for business or leisure. Those opportunities are now being lost to both the travelers and their potential hosts.”
The chief’s reasoned analysis aligns well with our subject matter; it seems the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) also sees the writing on the wall…
As police unions and law enforcement support organizations tend to do, effort has been made to educate and guide citizens as best possible under certain circumstances—especially unpleasant ones. TMPA invested in billboard ads to “warn” travelers visiting Austin about the anti-police, riotous climate, drawing attention to the fact that traveling folks are in terrorized territory.
As such, the Texas Municipal Police Association (“The Voice of Texas Law Enforcement”) decided to advertise these concerns by buying a massive billboard to bring acute attention to one of the nation’s well-known cities and its careless “leadership” allowing open-air hostilities where visitors may be co-present.
Here is what TMPA publicized regarding the billboard effort: “TMPA released two billboards [one pictured above, the other follows] along Interstate 35, entering Austin, intended to raise public awareness that Austin is a defunded city. This reckless act, a political stunt by the city council pandering to the radical left, will do nothing but endanger the people of Austin [and visitors traversing to/through it].”
“As the largest police association in Texas, it is our duty and responsibility to stand up for the brave men and women of the APD, as well as the other law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction within the city limits which will have less of APD’s resources to depend on, and to raise public awareness of the dangers of defunding not just Austin, but any city across the U.S.”
On the heels of exhibiting the two billboards, the public responded. One comment I came across, directly from an Austin resident who is a police supporter, is as follows: “Thanks to the TEXAS Municipal Police Association for producing this ‘Warning’ sign for those entering our ‘Capitol’ City Austin, TX. Good citizens need to be aware that public safety could be compromised due to Democrat controlled city mismanagement.”
Gotta love when someone gets right to the point, much like a follow-up report directly from TMPA: “Today our billboards are [garnering national exposure]. The billboards were done to bring attention to Austin’s reckless decision to defund by one-third, and to discourage other cities from doing the same. It appears we have succeeded in that, and much more. Calls are coming in from Austin and across the country saying, ‘we don’t want this,’ and asking, ‘what can we do?’ Our response is don’t be silent any longer, let the elected officials hear your voice, be an informed voter, and #backtheblue.”
Indeed, there are bogies in the water and, per usual, the police are coming to the aid of unsuspecting innocents (at least they’re trying to).
And if law enforcement entities are being sidelined and thus unable to preempt potentially disastrous strikes upon humanity, who is left to safely steer you right. Austin City Council? Don’t bet on it.
The billboard campaign is Texas police culture’s way of doing the job while local leaders revere their blind ambitions.
Pay attention to the signs—your life just may depend on it…