Governor Abbott Announces Plan to Take Over Austin Police Department

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is proposing that the state take control of the Austin Police Department after the city council cut $21 million from the budget.

Can Abbott really do that? He previously suggested freezing property taxes of cities that defund their police departments. Taking over the management of a city police force by folding it into the Texas Department of Public Safety is a novel approach to preventing the inmates from running the asylum.

The Austin American Statesmen writes that the “Texas Constitution grants the state authority over local matters in the capital city when a statewide importance is determined.” That would seem to make Abbott’s proposal constitutional.

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KXAN:

The tweet from Gov. Abbott was not a surprise. Just days earlier, he had promised to pass the legislation in the upcoming session.

“The state will fix this,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “Texas will pass a law this session supporting law enforcement and defunding cities that defund the police.”

Back in September, Abbott expressed his displeasure with Austin City Council’s decision to cut $20 million from APD’s budget, in addition to transitioning $130 million out over a year. The council’s decision came after harsh criticism of the way APD handled protesters over the summer.

“Harsh criticism” from whom? Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters may not have liked being prevented from destroying the city, but they’re hardly neutral observers.

Back in September, Abbott expressed his displeasure with Austin City Council’s decision to cut $20 million from APD’s budget, in addition to transitioning $130 million out over a year. The council’s decision came after harsh criticism of the way APD handled protesters over the summer.

The move was condemned by Abbott, who called it “disrespect for law enforcement” that would invite chaos and endanger the public.

Abbott received a legislation proposal in September that would allow cities with over 1 million residents and fewer than two police officers per 1,000 to have its police force consolidated with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Back in September when Abbott said he was looking at taking over the Austin PD, one member of the city council referred to the idea as a “distraction.” “We’ve gotten used to threats by tweet and authoritarian threats by tweet whether it’s out of the Governor’s Office or the White House,” council member Greg Casar told KXAN.

This may not be the best time to talk about defunding the police. Murders are up 55 percent in Austin over the same period last year, as are other violent crimes. Abbott is absolutely right in not allowing BLM and antifa to dictate public policy — especially when those policies were formulated in the midst of a heated national election.

As it is, defunding the police cost Democrats dearly at the polls, as did their other kooky ideas. Perhaps the city council should take a second look at the funding cuts and grow a spine to stand up to the BLM bullies.

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