According to a report by the New York Post on Friday, Austin, which left-leaning officials control, is experiencing a shortage of police officers, as both current and former officers noted the hostility towards law enforcement and conservative values as the primary reasons for the shortage.
The Post said that multiple sources reported that the city has over 300 vacancies and that officers are resigning "because they feel disrespected." The Austin Police Association has further predicted that an additional 77 officers will retire before the end of March. Recently retired Lt. Brian Moon, who served for 23 years, stated that Austin has become hostile to conservatives and law enforcement, similar to Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, adding, "if you're at all conservative or in law enforcement, it's become a hostile place."
Due to the severe shortage of police officers, the Austin Police Department has resorted to redirecting 911 emergency calls to the non-emergency 311 line. It's become a concerning situation as the redirects have led to longer response times and hindered the department's ability to effectively investigate and solve crimes.
“If you come home and find your home burglarized, calls like that are now going to 311,” police union president Thomas Villarreal told The Post. “You’re not getting a police response to many property crimes if it’s not a violent crime that is currently ongoing.”
According to Senior Police Officer Justin Berry, the department, under significant pressure, has redeployed detectives from case-solving duties to serve as patrol officers.
Moody, who previously served as a watch commander and has been employed by the Austin Police Department since 1999, has observed significant changes in recent years. In 2021, the city recorded an all-time high of 88 homicides, and while this number decreased in 2022, the first half of the year saw a marked increase in the number of reported rapes, with 179 cases, as well as almost 2,000 cases of aggravated assault, as reported by the local news site KXAN.
“Austin had always been a pretty liberal-leaning city, but it was pro-law enforcement at the same time. They expected us to do things the right way, obviously, but they weren’t hyper-critical like they became," he said, according to the post.
The United States, generally, is facing a nationwide police shortage. The phenomenon is being experienced in both big and small cities across the country. According to recent reports, several departments are struggling to fill their vacant positions, leading to a significant decrease in the number of officers on the streets. The police shortage has had detrimental effects on communities across the country. The increased workload on the existing officers has led to exhaustion and burnout. As a result, response times have slowed, and the quality of service has decreased. The shortage has also led to a rise in crime rates in many areas.
The 'defund police' movement among left-wing cities is also taking a toll.
Following protests and clashes with the police in Austin over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the city council made the decision to defund the police by $150 million in 2020. This resulted in a one-third reduction in the police budget and the cancellation of three cadet classes, as well as the removal of 150 officers from the department's budget by elected officials, The Post noted.
And last year, the local district attorney announced the indictment of 19 police officers who were accused of using excessive force against protesters during the 2020 demonstrations.
“It almost felt like there was a target — like the District Attorney’s Office and the city was looking for an opportunity to do something to you, to prosecute you or fire you, no matter if you did it right or did it wrong,” Moon stated.
The Democratic left is purposely creating chaos in our largest cities so residents beg them to 'fix the problem', which they will -- with authoritarian measures.
They're not stupid, they're just power-hungry.