Equity Action’s second major campaign, in 2022, started with signature collection in the midst of one of the hottest summers on record. We turned in more than 33,000 signatures and put the Austin Police Oversight Act on the ballot. The May 2023 election was a sweep. A deceptive rival petition by the police association failed, garnering only 20% of the vote, while the REAL Austin Police Oversight Act is now law. Equity Action is working with the city to reinstate our civilian oversight system in accordance with the new law, in effect since May 16, 2023.

REAL Austin Police Oversight Act Endorsing Organizations!

The following groups endorsed Prop A, the REAL Austin Police Oversight Act, and its enactment in 2023.

  • Advocates for Social Justice Reform
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
  • American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 1624
  • Austin Airwaves
  • Austin American Statesman Editorial Board
  • Austin Area Urban League
  • Austin Central Labor Council
  • Austin Chronicle Editorial Board
  • Austin Community Law Center
  • Austin DSA
  • Austin Environmental Democrats
  • Austin Justice Coalition
  • Austin Tejano Democrats
  • Austin Young Democrats
  • Black Austin Democrats
  • Black Lives Matter Austin
  • Central Austin Democrats
  • Circle C Democrats
  • Democrasexy
  • District 5 for Black Lives
  • Dove Springs Proud
  • EFF Austin
  • Far Northwest Progressives
  • Go Austin Vamos Austin (GAVA)
  • Grassroots Leadership
  • Ground Game Texas
  • Indivisible Austin
  • Just Liberty
  • Liberal Austin Democrats
  • Lioness Justice Impacted Women’s Alliance
  • Move Texas at UT
  • NAACP Austin
  • Nonviolent Austin
  • Party for Socialism and Liberation – Austin
  • Public Citizen
  • Rosedale Huddle
  • Sierra Club
  • Statewide Leadership Council
  • Sunrise Movement ATX
  • Texas Alliance for Retired Americans
  • Texas Center for Justice and Equity
  • Texas Civil Rights Project
  • Texas Fair Defense Project
  • Texas Harm Reduction Alliance
  • Texas Working Families Party
  • Travis County Democratic Party
  • Undoing White Supremacy Austin
  • University Democrats
  • University United Methodist Church
  • Workers Defense Action Fund

REAL Austin Police Oversight Act Endorsing Elected Officials!

The following elected officials endorse Prop A, the REAL Austin Police Oversight Act, and its 2023 enactment.

  • Congressman Lloyd Doggett
  • Congressman Greg Casar
  • Rep. Sheryl Cole, Dist 46
  • Rep. Vikki Goodwin, Dist 47
  • Rep. Donna Howard, Dist 48
  • Rep. James Talarico, Dist 50
  • Rep. Lulu Flores, Dist 51
  • Mayor Kirk Watson
  • D1 Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison
  • D2 Council Member Vanessa Fuentes
  • D3 Council Member Jose Velasquez
  • D4 Council Member Jose “Chito” Vela
  • D5 Council Member Ryan Alter
  • D8 Council Member Paige Ellis
  • D9 Council Member Zohaib “Zo” Qadri
  • AISD Trustee Kevin M Foster
  • AISD Trustee Andrew Gonzales
  • DVISD Trustee Susanna Ledesma-Woody
  • Former Mayor Steve Adler
  • Former Rep. Celia Israel, District 50
  • Former Travis County Sheriff Margo Fraser
  • Former Council Member Ann Kitchen
  • Former AISD Trustee Ann Teich

REAL Austin Police Oversight Act Individual Endorsements!

The following individuals endorse Prop A, the REAL Austin Police Oversight Act, and its enactment in 2023.

  • Amenity Applewhite
  • Jennifer Armstrong
  • Mr. Scott Ashcraft
  • Ms. Robbie Ausley
  • Mr. Tom Ausley
  • Awais Azhar
  • Miss Sarah Barbour
  • Stephanie Bazan
  • Becky Bernhart
  • Mike Blizzard
  • Mandy Blott
  • Janis Bookout
  • Leslie Boykin
  • Timothy Bray
  • Louisa Brinsmade
  • April Brown
  • Pam Brown
  • Becky Bullard
  • Mr. Bennett Burke
  • Mr. Adam Callaway
  • Ms. Bethany Carson
  • Amanda Cavazos Weems
  • Margaret Chen Kercher
  • David Chincanchan
  • Ted Clem
  • Mark Coats
  • George Cofer
  • Jessica Cohen
  • Miriam Conner
  • Joao Paulo Connolly
  • Miriam Connor
  • Claudia Corum
  • Ken Craig
  • David Cruz
  • Mr. Scott Daigle
  • Neesha Dave
  • Noelle Davis
  • Michelle Deitsch
  • Ann Denkler
  • Mr. Jasper Dillon
  • Maggie DiSanza
  • Rev. Tom Downing
  • Caro Dubois
  • Dick Dubois
  • Kolby Duhon
  • John Elford
  • Jim Ellinger
  • Maggie Ellis
  • Ivi English
  • Roxanne Evans
  • Mr. Nathan Fernandes
  • Barbara Fetonte
  • Tricia Forbes
  • Helen Gaebler
  • Ms. Helen Gaebler
  • Kelly Garemko
  • Heidi Gerbracht
  • Emily Gerrick
  • Krystle Gervais
  • Heidi Gibbons
  • Eric Goff
  • Rockie Gonzalez
  • Carol Goodwin
  • Sara Gore
  • Linda Guerrero
  • Ms. Linda Guy
  • Monica Guzmán
  • Ash Hall
  • Jenna Hanes
  • Mr. Patrick Hardin
  • Jim Harrington
  • Chris Harris
  • Mr. Eric Hartman
  • Jeremy Hendricks
  • Ms. Erica Howard Cormier
  • Mr. John Hunt
  • Reggie James
  • D’Ann Johnson
  • Shane Johnson
  • AJ Juraska
  • AJ Juraska
  • Heidi Kahle
  • Susan Kelly
  • Caleb Kennedy
  • Conor Kenny
  • David King
  • Mariana Krueger
  • Susanna Ledesma-Woody
  • Keelan Lentz
  • Mr. Chace Levi
  • Amanda Michelle Lewis
  • Bob Libal
  • Carmen Llanes Pullido
  • Ms. Maggie Luna
  • Crystal Maher
  • Nickie Mangold
  • Jen Margulies
  • Mack Martinez
  • Ms. Yvonne Massey Davis
  • Kate McArdle
  • Rob McCabe
  • Ms. melissa mccullough
  • Maggy McGiffert
  • Brian McGiverin
  • Ms. JoAnn McKenzie
  • Mr. Mark McKim
  • Brian McMullen
  • Mr. William Medaille
  • Ms. Katherine Meisel
  • Trish Merrill
  • Kathy Mitchell
  • Marion Mlotok
  • Chas Moore
  • Katie Naranjo
  • Hatem Natsheh
  • Dr. Craig Nazor
  • Garrett Neaves
  • Caleb Newton
  • Tú-Uyên Nguyễn
  • Julie Ann Nitsch
  • Leah Norman
  • Ms. Melynda Nuss
  • Lauren Oertel
  • Julie Oliver
  • Miss Anne Peticolas
  • Gretchen Pierce
  • Ross Pumfrey
  • Paul Quinzi
  • Ms. Kris Raab
  • Ted Raab
  • Jen Ramos
  • Misael Ramos
  • John Riedie
  • Rev. Jim Rigby
  • Chris Riley
  • Michael Ring
  • Larissa Rodionov
  • Ana Rodriguez DeFrates
  • Robin Schneider
  • Sarah Schweitzer
  • Mary Selby
  • Dominic Selvera
  • Eugene Sepulveda
  • Sabrina Sha
  • Rachael Shannon
  • Mike Siegel
  • Ted Siff
  • Daniela Silva
  • Heidi Sloan
  • Cassie Sodergren
  • Kamille Stone Stanton
  • Mr. Paul Tardie
  • Russell Taylor
  • Sean Taylor
  • Ann Teich
  • Ms. Mary Tokumaru
  • Mr. Samuel Trevino
  • Jesus Varela
  • Ms. Cynthia Vasquez
  • Pedro Villalobos
  • Tom Wald
  • Roy Waley
  • Rebecca Webber
  • Kevin Welch
  • Mr. Brian West
  • Jim Wick
  • Ms. Barbara Wiederaenders
  • Chloe Wilkinson
  • Roy Woody
  • Mr. Curt Wyman

Austin did not “defund” the police, but it did eliminate vacant positions” and date it to 2020.

A lot of people don’t understand #ReimagineATX: Let us help!

If you don’t understand what Austin City Council actually did with the police budget, you are not alone. If you want to help your friends and family understand, we’ve made a page to help.

The police force is not smaller, and there is no reason for officers to fail to do the job you expect of them due to “the budget.”

  • Only $21 million was actually cut from the $440 million police budget (less than 5%.) In difficult economic times, agencies throughout government routinely face cuts more significant than this.
  • No officers were laid off in the making of this budget. Austin has the same number of officers today as we did at the end of the just finished fiscal year.
  • Austin elected not to put new officers into the Police Academy this year because the curriculum needs to be revised.
  • It is likely that the force will shrink slightly due to normal attrition over the course of the year.
  • That money was spent to increase EMS staff by 67 EMTs, including 14 community health paramedics who help the unsheltered homeless, those in behavioral health crisis and those experiencing drug overdose. The money supported gun violence prevention programs, a family violence shelter, a harm reduction program for those experiencing addiction and much more.

The City Council directed the City Manager to move a number of civilian departments out of the police department. These departments will report to new managers but they will continue doing the necessary work they do now. Most of this reorganization has been a long time in the making.

  • After years of study, it is clear that Austin needs an independent forensics lab like the one that Houston created years ago.
  • Moving the 911 call center out of the police department and making it independent will encourage better service and help eliminate inefficiencies, including the overapplication of too many emergency response resources to individual calls.
  • Most controversial, Council has directed staff to move those who investigate police misconduct out of the same chain of command as the rest of the Department. The investigation of officers must also be independent.

Finally, the City Council put a list of specialized police units on a list for evaluation. Each one of these units has its own set of issues.

  • The Mounted Patrol needs a new stable and has needed one for a decade. After voters funded this project through bond money, no stable got built and the bond oversight commission noted two years ago that the costs had skyrocketed. The stable is going to cost $8 million, or about half a million per horse. Maybe it’s time to retire the horses.
  • The K9 unit recruits staff and trains dogs as a weapon. These dogs are trained to bite people. The use of dogs against people of color has a long and torrid history dating back to slavery. Recent use of force datasets indicate that dog bites during police interactions do occur. Meanwhile, the “best use” case is drug interdiction. This is an area where there is an ongoing debate among scientists over the role of the police handler in the dog’s “alert” behavior. These are issues that will be evaluated over the course of this year.

Right sizing the police force.

  • There is no easy relationship between crime levels in a city and levels of expenditure on police or the number of police officers. 
  • Cities with serious violent crime problems have grown huge police departments and remain troubled. Relatively peaceful cities like Austin may have more, or substantially fewer police officers.
  • Community calls for “community policing” have served as path to metrics that ensure an ever growing department because police insist that they now need a percentage of “free” time to conduct community policing activities. These activities are largely undefined and discretionary.
  • Cities across the country have started to realize that before deciding how many police are needed, leaders must decide what they want their police to do. Should they tend to the unsheltered homeless? Should they decide whether a mentally ill person needs inpatient treatment? Should they administer drugs to people who need medication? Should they counsel a troubled teen or a frightened victim of domestic abuse? These are often the tasks that arise on a police officer’s shift, and many officers agree that they are not trained for this kind of work. We can either train police to do everything, or substitute alternative staffing for many of the crisis calls that come into 911.
  • These are the kinds of questions that a Task Force has been commissioned to study and discuss over the coming year.

IF all this makes sense to you, as it does to us, the organizations supporting this campaign, sign our petition and volunteer. We will have yard signs you can post in front of your residence to show your support. We will have literature and would love help distributing it. And we will be on social media in every channel reminding Austin that we are safe, smart and we’re doing the right thing.

We launched our first major campaign to oppose a ballot initiative promoted by Save Austin Now and the Austin Police Association, dubbed Prop A, in the summer of 2021. The huge coalition below came together to form “No Way Prop A” and resoundingly defeated that measure 69% to 31%. The election was a voter mandate for increased city and county investment in community health paramedics, mental health emergency services, resources for victims of violence, family violence shelters and much more. Thank you to everyone in the community who opposed defunding the services we really need in order to add hundreds more police.

“No Way Prop A” Endorsing Organizations

Access to Activism
ACLU of Texas
Advocates for Social Justice Reform
AFSCME local 1624
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1091
American Federal Government Employees Local 2139
American Federation Government Employees Local 1048
American Federation of Teachers Local 6249
American Federation State County Municipal Employees local 1624
American Postal Workers Union Local 299
Anti-Displacement Action Coalition
Asian Democrats of Central Texas
Austin Airwaves
Austin Area Urban League
Austin Asian Communities Civic Coalition
Austin Central Labor Council
Austin Community Law Center
Austin Democratic Socialists of America
Austin Environmental Democrats
Austin Housing Coalition
Austin Justice Coalition
Austin Outside
Austin Parks Foundation
Austin Pets Alive!
Austin Tejano Democrats
Austin Texas Musicians
Austin Women in Housing
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action Austin
Bike Austin
Black Leaders Collective
Black Lives Matter Austin
Capitol Area Progressive Democrats
Carpenters Local 1266
Central Austin Democrats
Circle C Area Democrats
Clean Water Action
Communication Workers of America Local 6186 State employees
Communications Workers of America Local 6132
Communities of Color United
Community Justice Action Fund
Congress for New Urbanism — Austin Chapter
Del Valle Community Coalition
District 5 for Black Lives
Dove Springs Proud
East Austin Conservancy
East Travis County Democrats
Education Austin
EFF Austin
Friends of Austin Neighborhoods (FAN)
Friends of Rosewood Park
Ghisallo Cycling Initiative
Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA)
Good Work Austin
Graphic Communications Conference of the Intl Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 4535
Grassroots Law Project
Grassroots Leadership
Ground Game Texas
HousingWorks Austin
Indivisible Austin

Indivisible Rosedale Huddle
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 205
International Brotherhood Electrical Workers Local 520Intl Assoc of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 87
Iron Workers Local 482
Just Liberty
La Politica
Laborers International Union North America Local 1095
Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)
Liberal Austin Democrats
Lilith Fund
LiUNA Local 1095
MISMA (Mujeres Inspiradas en Sueños, Metas y Acciones)
National Association of Letter Carriers Local 181
Nonviolent Austin
Northeast Travis County Democrats
NxNW Democrats
Office Professional Employees IU Local 277
Our Revolution Central Texas
Planning Our Communities
Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 286
Progress Texas
Public Citizen
Save Our Springs
Servant Church Austin
Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation Local 67
Sierra Club
South Austin Democrats
South East Democratic Alliance (SEDA)
Southwest Laborers District Council
Statewide Leadership Council
Stonewall Democrats of Austin
Sunrise Movement Austin
Texas After Violence
Texas Alliance of Retired Americans Austin
Texas Appleseed
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Texas Civil Rights Project
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
Texas Fair Defense Project
Texas Freedom Network
Texas Harm Reduction Alliance
Texas Housers (TxLIHIS)
Texas Organizing Project
Texas Rising Action
Texas Women’s Justice Coalition
Texas Working Families Party
Trail Foundation
Travis County Democratic Party
Travis County Libertarian Party
TX21 Indivisible
Undoing White Supremacy Austin
Unite Here Local 23
University Democrats
Waterloo Greenway
Windsor Hills Neighborhood Association
Workers Defense Action Fund
Young Active Labor Leaders of Austin (YALL)
Zilker Neighborhood Association

“No Way Prop A” Endorsing Elected Officials

Congressman Lloyd Doggett, TX-35
Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, SD-14
Rep. Sheryl Cole, District 46
Rep. Donna Howard, District 48
Rep. Gina Hinojosa, District 49
Rep. Celia Israel, District 50
Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, District 51
Rep. James Talarico, District 52

Former Senator, the Hon. Wendy Davis, District 10

Travis County Judge Andy Brown
Commissioner Jeff Travillion
, Pct. 1
Commissioner Brigid Shea, Pct. 2
Commissioner Ann Howard, Pct. 3
Commissioner Margaret Gomez, Pct. 4
County Attorney Delia Garza

Former District Attorney Margaret Moore
Former County Attorney David Escamilla

ACC Trustee Sean Hassan, Pl. 4
ACC Trustee Stephanie Gharakhanian, Pl. 8

Austin Mayor Steve Adler
Mayor Pro-Tem Natasha Harper-Madison
, D1
Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, D2
Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria, D3
Council Member Gregorio “Greg” Casar, D4
Council Member Ann Kitchen, D5
Council Member Leslie Pool, D7
Council Member Paige Ellis, D8
Council Member Kathie Tovo, D9
Council Member Alison Alter, D10

Former Council Member Jimmy Flannigan
Former Council Member Mike Martinez
Former Council Member Laura Morrison
Former Council Member Chris Riley
Former Council Member Bill Spelman

Austin ISD Trustee Kevin Foster, District 3
Austin ISD Trustee Lynn Boswell, District 5
Austin ISD Trustee Noelita Lugo, District 8
Del Valle ISD Trustee Susanna Woody

Former Austin ISD Trustee Ann Teich, District 3

Individuals Against Prop A

Hill Abell
Saatvik Ahluwalia
David Albert
Andrew Allison
Mary Alston Patrick
Greg Anderson
Heidi Anderson
Aimee Arrambide
Bob Ayres
Awais Azhar
Rich Bailey
Becky Bernhardt
Oliver Bernstein
Heyden Black Walker
Charlie Bonner
Janis Bookout
Timothy Bray
Louisa Brinsmade
April Brown
Caitlin Brown
Pam Brown
Becky Bullard
Bill Bunch
Dr. Collette Pierce Burnette
David Butts
Amanda Cavazos Weems
Margaret Chen Kercher
Ashley Cheng
David Chincanchan
Brandi Clark Burton
George Cofer
Kevin Cokley
Joao Paulo Connolly
Miriam Connor
Dave Cortez
Claudia Corum
Ken Craig
Nicole Cruz Talkington
Ashton Cumberbatch
Neesha Dave
Michelle Deitsch
Bo Delp
Robert Doggett
Tom Downing
Kolby Duhon
Quincy Dunlap
Michelle Edwards
John Elford
Rev. Linda Elford
Jim Ellinger
Angelica Erazo
Ed Espinoza
Deena Estrada
Amy Everhart
Brandon Farmahini
Barbara Fetonte
Danny Fetonte
Tricia Forbes
Rose Frank
Helen Gaebler
Kelly Garemko
Kendra Garrett
Jesus Garza
Michael Gaudini
Heidi Gerbracht
Julie Gilberg
Matt Glazer
Eric Goff
Diana Gómez
Rebecca Gonzales
Julio Gonzales Altamirano
Amber Goodwin
Larry Graham
Malcolm Greenstein
Idona Griffith
Linda Guerrero
Carol Guthrie
Monica Guzman
Karen Hadden
Clark Hancock
Lana Hansen
Jim Harrington
Chris Harris
Courtney Harris Perry
Jeremy Hendricks
Dan Hennessey
Laura Hernandez
John Hildreth
Carrie Holley-Hurt
Rachel Jackson
Reggie James
Janet Janssen
Briona Jenkins
Maria Jimenez
D’Ann Johnson
Rev. Carol Johnson
Shane Johnson
Peniel Joseph
AJ Juraska
Heidi Kahle
Fayez Kazi
Conor Kenny
Dan Keshet
David King
Jack Kirfman
Elisa Kissinger
Ramey Ko
Shoshana Krieger
Erika Langmore
John Langmore
Bobby Levinski

Amanda Michelle Lewis
Dawn Lewis
Fred Lewis
Bob Libal
Jennifer Littlefield
Mark Littlefield
Daniel Llanes
Carmen Llanes Pullido
Jason Lopez
Vanessa MacDougal
Cari Marshall
Jim Marston
Mack Martinez
Brian McGiverin
Sukyi McMahon
Luke Metzger
Kathy Mitchell
Julie Montgomery
Michelle Moon Reinhardt
Chas Moore
Walter Moreau
Scott Morris
Nancy Mossman
Amit Motwani
Elizabeth Mueller
Lyn Nance Hendricks
Katie Naranjo
Ranjana Nataranjan
Daniela Nunez
Melynda Nuss
Krissy O’Brien
Julie Oliver
Adam Orman
Tara Pohlmeyer
Kazique Prince
Caleb Pritchard
Ross Pumfrey
Zohaib Qadri
Paul Quinzi
Ted Raab
Abhi Rahman
Jen Ramos
Cyrus Reed
Rev. Jim Rigby
Sam Robles
Ana Rodriguez DeFrates
Kathryn Rogers
Ryan Rosshirt
Alicia Roth Weigel
Barbara Rush
Nathan Ryan
Joe Savage Deshotel
Stella Savage Deshotel
Jacob Scheick
Robin Schneider
Daniel Segura-Kelly
Dominic Selvera
Eugene Sepulveda
Sabrina Sha
Rachael Shannon
Kelly Shoenfelt
Mike Siegel
Ted Siff
Crystal Silva-McCormick
Arthur Simon
Heidi Sloan
Chuck Smith
Curtis Smith
Tom “Smitty” Smith
Susan Somers
Christopher Stanton
Elissa Steglich
Brian Stoller
Danielle Stoller
Wesley Story
Dave Sullivan
Ron Thrower
Mykle Tomlinson
Andre Treiber
Rev. Carolina Treviño
Stephanie Trinh
Terra Tucker
Clayton Tucker
Scott Turner
Cynthia Van Maanen
Dr. Karen VanMatre Smith
Chito Vela
Gloria Vera-Bedolla
John-Michael Vincent Cortez
Catina Voellinger
Tom Wald
Roy Waley
Nate Walker
Colin Wallis
Heather Way
Rebecca Webber
Amy Webberman
Jerry Webberman
Steven Weintraub
Kevin Welch
Bill Whitehurst
Stephanie Whitehurst
Jim Wick
Amanda Williams
Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams
Ellen Williams Hensle
Amanda Woog
Alice Mingfei Yi
Patricia Zavala

About Equity Action

Equity Action is an Austin-based Texas non-profit charitable corporation organized for purposes allowed under 501(c)(4) designation by the IRS and focused on strengthening and advancing local transformative criminal justice efforts.