The Texas Department of Public Safety is partnering with the City of Austin to provide law enforcement services after failed policing policies in the state’s capital have resulted in fewer officers and increased crime.
Austin leaders announced the partnership in a press release on Monday, saying they expect safety and police times to improve, traffic fatalities to decrease and crime to drop.
Texas DPS has agreed to provide state troopers and agents to focus on traffic issues and violent crime. The added law enforcement officers will also provide backup during emergency situations.
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“During my run for mayor, I promised we would make city government work better in providing basic services,” Mayor Kirk Watson said. “This is an example of that. It’s a common-sense, practical response to a serious need and arose out of a positive working relationship between the Capital City and the Capitol of Texas.”
Watson thanked Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for helping to get a partnership in place, and DPS Director Steven McCraw for stepping in to help provide safety to the community.
“I’m looking forward to the collaboration between the City of Austin and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is a step towards enhancing law enforcement presence on our streets,” City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly told Fox News Digital. “Thanks to the Mayor, Governor, and Lt. Governor for their collaborative work during a low staffing period. I will continue working with the Mayor’s office and the City Council to strengthen public safety in Austin.”
In February, Austin police officers, past and present, warned Fox News Digital that the police force was struggling because of defunding during the riots in 2020. In fact, a source told Fox News Digital that 30 officers filed retirement papers after the City Council voted to scrap a four-year contract that the city previously agreed to, and instead pursue a 1-year contract that the police union’s board had rejected.
The department suffered massive budget cuts from city council during the George Floyd unrest in 2020, which slashed police cadet classes and sent staffing in a downward spiral that could take more than 10 years to recover from. Mayor Steve Adler and then-Council Member Greg Casar led that vote on the council, which was unanimous. The vote to slash APD’s budget forced the department to reduce or jettison several specialist anti-crime units.
Casar was later elected to Congress as a Democrat from Texas’ 35th District.
Council Member Kelly, a volunteer firefighter and staunch public safety advocate, was elected to Austin’s city council after the vote to gut APD’s budget.
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Interim City Manager Jesús Garza and Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon implemented new recruitment and retention strategies, the release read, and as the department builds itself back up, DPS will help.
Texas DPS troopers have statewide jurisdiction and have provided support in the past to cities like San Antonio and Dallas to reduce crime rates.
Chacon will reallocate current resources, while also working with McCraw to position DPS troopers throughout the large and growing city.
Source: Fox News