Texas Governor Backs Bill to Prevent Police Defunding

Austin Police Department (File Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
File Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced he would sign a bill to prohibit cities from defunding their police departments. The announcement follows a case where the response to a shooting in Austin took more than 16 minutes despite a man being critically wounded at the scene.

Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday tweeted a report about a May 23 shooting at 5:35 a.m. where no officers were available to be dispatched for 12 minutes. Once tasked, the Austin Police Department unit arrived on the scene four minutes later to find a critically wounded shooting victim.

In August 2020, Governor Abbott slammed the Austin City Council for stripping $150 million from the APD budget, Breitbart Texas reported.

“Some cities are more focused on political agendas than public safety,” the governor said at the time. “Austin’s decision puts the brave men and women of the Austin Police Department and their families at greater risk, and paves the way for lawlessness.”

A week later, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, Jr., asked Governor Abbott to provide Department of Public Safety troopers to help supplement the cuts in law enforcement in the part of Austin located in his county.

Gravell said, “It is clear the Austin City Council has abdicated their responsibility to protect their citizens and, in turn, citizens of Williamson County. I will not let politics get in the way of protecting the people.”

Governor Abbott quickly responded to the effort by Austin City Council and other cities’ efforts to cut police funding by proposing freezing those cities’ property tax levels.

After the APD’s slow response to the Sunday shooting, Governor Abbott tweeted, “This is what defunding the police looks like. Austin is incapable of timely responding to a victim shot in the head.”

In a statement to Breitbart Texas, Governor Abbott said:

Texas has been—and always will be—a law-and-order state. Defunding law enforcement invites crime and chaos into communities, and it risks the lives and livelihoods of innocent people. We will not let Texas cities follow the lead of cities like Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis by defunding the police.

Here in Texas, we don’t demonize or defund our law enforcement officers—we support them. And that’s exactly what I will do when I sign the legislature’s bill to defend our law enforcement from crazy liberal attempts to defund them and leave our communities unprotected.

He said the State of Texas will not tolerate this and that he will sign a law “that will prevent cities from defunding police.”

That bill, House Bill 1900, passed the House the bill earlier this month, the Texas Tribune reported. The Senate is poised to vote on the bill.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

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