Two billboards warning drivers to enter Austin at their own risk after the city reduced its police department budget were put up by the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) this week, CNN reported over the weekend.
“Warning!!! Austin Police Defunded Enter at Your Own Risk” one sign reads, while the other says “Limited Support Next 20 Miles.”
Last month the Austin City Council voted to cut the police department’s budget by $21.5 million immediately and a total of $150 million, according to CBS Austin, with the money redirected to other departments and social services.
TMPA stated on Facebook that it put up the billboards to raise awaress that the city’s police department is “defunded” and slammed the move by stating that “This reckless act, a political stunt by the city council pandering to the radical left, will do nothing but endanger the people of Austin.”
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick supported the campaign, citing the “great new billboards” in a tweet.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who also backed the TMPA, announced last month that he plans to freeze property taxes in cities that vote to defund their police departments, according to CNN.
The move to defund police departments has spread nationwide following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has argued that redirecting some police funds to other places will improve public safety, WVLT TV reported.
“This budget responds to concerns expressed all over the community and embodies our values as a city,” Adler said. “New investment is focused on the underlying causes of crime,” adding that the new budget maximizes officer effort and invests in programs and strategies to decrease crime.
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