EMS, mental health care, parks services, & more could be devastated by the ballot effort
Spelman: “There could be no limit to the number of officers APD could demand each budget cycle.”
Austin needs a comprehensive approach to public safety
AUSTIN, TX – Today, local and state organizations announce the launch of a campaign opposing the latest Republican-led petition and possible ballot measure, highlighting the danger of severe cuts to core city services. In a newly released video this week, Save Austin Now’s paid canvassers are shown misleading people by falsely representing what is included in the petition.
Save Austin Now’s petition requires Austin to “ensure at all times” that the police department has two sworn officers per thousand residents, along with other stipulations that require even more police to be hired.
“The 2:1000 metric isn’t a best practice. It was a rule of thumb applied in the past when APD was responding to more calls and more crimes than they are today,” said former City Council member Dr. Bill Spelman, a former University of Texas professor who conducts police staffing studies. “Then, you add the requirement for all officers to have 35% of their time free for some undefined ‘community engagement,’ and there could be no limit to the number of officers APD could demand each budget cycle.”
“This petition lifts up one kind of public safety worker over all others, and guarantees that Austin will only be able to fund the police department,” said Carol Guthrie, business manager for AFSCME local 1624. “We need to hire all kinds of different types of staff, from park rangers to EMS and Fire personnel, and this petition means cuts to those departments will need to be made.”
“Today, broad and diverse organizations from across the community are coming together to highlight the severe cuts to services that would happen if this far right-wing proposal passes,” said Sukyi McMahon, senior policy director of the Austin Justice Coalition. “A comprehensive approach to public safety is necessary, and this latest petition supported by wealthy Republican elites like Gov. Greg Abbott is not the answer.”