Lack of funding for needed police services in Austin is a critical problem. We have longer response times and less time for community engagement, as well as an increase in crime rates. Since 2012, the city council has failed to fund even minimal police staffing levels, while at the same time ordering multiple taxpayer funded studies which all show the need for more officers – recently 257 additional sworn officers needed by 2017. The council’s FY 2017 budget provided NO funding for 12 new positions – and the proposed FY 2018 budget includes NO new patrol officers NOR does it fund the 12 positions from last year. All the while, the population in our big city is increasing by about 100 people every day, that’s 36,500 every year. That’s 146,000 in the past four years. Add to that all the people who commute in to Austin from outside the city every day, the thousands of tourists who visit every year, and the very large amount of traffic that passes through Austin going to other locations.
The following message from the Greater Austin Crime Commission provides more information, along with a request for action to urge the city council to approve funding for police officers in the FY 2018 budget and implementation of a plan to achieve a minimum goal of 35% community engagement time. Included in the message are the email addresses for the mayor and all of the council members.
A message from David Roche, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission
The second (and last) public budget hearing on the proposed City of Austin FY18 budget is tomorrow afternoon at City Hall. Please contact the mayor and council and urge them to fund public safety first.
The City of Austin FY18 budget will be adopted early next month. The proposed budget does not include any new police patrol positions or fund the twelve officers approved last year. Despite increases in both response time and violent crime, population growth, and the recommendations of taxpayer-funded police staffing studies, public safety spending will decrease as a percentage of the city’s budget next year.
The Greater Austin Crime Commission and our public safety coalition partners are asking the council to fund the twelve police patrol positions authorized last year and implement a police staffing plan that achieves a minimum goal of 35 percent community engagement time.
What can you do?
- Contact your council member by email and phone (see details below).
- Share this message with family, friends, and neighbors.
- Sign up to speak at the public budget hearings (scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.) on August 31 at City Hall.
To email the mayor and entire Austin City Council use the homepage link HERE. Or contact the mayor and your council member individually using the information below.
Sample email message
Dear Mayor and Council:
As a concerned citizen, I urge you to fund the twelve police patrol positions authorized last year and adopt the latest staffing study recommendations to achieve 35 percent community engagement time.
The City of Austin experienced a troubling increase in violent crime last year and police response time continues to rise. Two taxpayer-funded studies have found the Austin Police Department is significantly understaffed and unable to patrol our neighborhoods effectively. A recent survey of likely Austin voters found a majority believe increasing the number of police officers will improve overall public safety. Eight out of ten voters think additional police officers should be hired immediately or over the next three or four years.
Please fund public safety first.
Austin City Council
Mayor Steve Adler
Council Member (District 1)
Council Member (District 2)
Sabino “Pio” Renteria
Council Member (District 3)
Gregorio “Greg” Casar
Council Member (District 4)
Council Member (District 5)
Council Member (District 6)
Council Member (District 7)
Council Member (District 8)
Council Member (District 9)
Council Member (District 10)