On November 2, 2021 voters in the city of Austin had the opportunity to nominally re-strengthen the police by passing Prop A, a ballot proposition that would have established a minimum staffing level for its police officers.
And they blew it. Once the votes were counted, Prop A passed by a vote of 68% to 32%.
As Brad Johnson of the Texan noted, Prop A would have established the following:
- Mandate a minimum staffing level within the Austin Police Department (APD) of two officers per 1,000 residents
- Establish a minimum 35 percent community response time standard
- Require 40 additional hours of training
- Oblige the mayor, city council, and city staff to enroll in the Citizens Police Academy
- Facilitate minority officer hiring through foreign language proficiency metrics
Save Austin Now helped organize this initiative. They previously organized a ballot initiative to reestablish a public camping ban. This came in response to the Austin City Council’s decision to allow shanty town encampments pop up across public areas throughout the city.
Austin voters came to their senses on May 1, 2021 when they voted 57%-43% to bring back the camping ban to Austin. However, Save Austin Now was not so fortunate with their policing initiative.
After Prop A went down, Save Austin Now co-founders Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek posted a statement on Facebook, “Our fight to make Austin the very best place to live, work and raise a family continues after tonight.”
Before any of the votes were counted, Austin Mayor Steve Adler was already declaring victory. He proclaimed, “Austin’s culture and values were on the ballot tonight.”
“This election reaffirms our community’s belief that public safety for all requires a comprehensive system that includes properly staffing our police, but also our fire, EMS, and mental health responses as well,” Adler added.
Austin is on a downward spiral. With the Austin Police Department announcing that it would not be responding to “non-life threatening” 911 calls, its law enforcement institutions are clearly experiencing a gradual decline.
Conservatives in Austin and Travis County should focus exclusively on crime issues and show how Democratic leadership is behind the massive reductions in the quality of life in Austin and other cities nationwide.
Republicans win when they notice things and stop making their political platforms so abstract. When Republicans pick up on people’s discontent, they become a force to be reckoned with.