The Austin City Council voted unanimously on Thursday in favor of a new city budget that sees an estimated $150 million in planned cuts to the Austin Police Department. About $20 million will be immediately removed from the department’s funding, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
The vote took place after the city council listen to hours of public testimony on Wednesday, which saw many speakers in favor of cutting the police budget.
Many community activists from @Grassroots_News, @ccucoalition, @AtxJustice and other groups said the Decouple and Reimagine Safety funds still allow @Austin_Police to access the money, and called on council to do more to remove funding from the department to reinvest elsewhere.— Mark D. Wilson (@MDWilsonSA) August 12, 2020
The cuts that will take place immediately will include:
"Cutting three upcoming cadet classes, slashing overtime costs by nearly $3 million, pulling more than $3 million from commodities and contractuals, $1 million from records management and More than $220,000 combined from license plate readers and vacancies to the department’s mounted patrol.
"That money will be redirected instead to a wide variety of community programs and city departments, including Austin-Travis County EMS for COVID-19 response, mental health response, violence prevention and a family violence shelter and protection and victim services."
The Austin Police Association called the budget cuts "ridiculous and unsafe for Austinites":
Thank you for supporting the Austin Police Department. The council's budget proposals continue to become more ridiculous and unsafe for Austinites. They are going to ignore the majority who do not want the police defunded. The community will need help @ the Capitol. @gacc97 https://t.co/mBhDZRmWxT— Austin Police Association (@ATXPOA) August 13, 2020
Austin is just the latest city to make moves to start defunding their police departments.
The Seattle City Council voted to take away some of the Seattle Police Department's funds, though it is not near the 50 percent cut protesters and rioters have demanded. Since those cuts included a major decrease in Chief Carmen Best's pay and pay for her command staff, along with other officer layoffs, she announced her resignation shortly after the council voted.