Austin has defunded its police department, and the Texas Municipal Police Association wants to make sure everyone entering that city knows about it. The sign reads: "Warning! Austin defunded police. Enter at your own risk." Additional signage reads "Limited support next 20 miles."
These billboards were made "to raise public awareness that Austin is a defunded city," according to the Facebook post.
Austin had voted to defund the police in that city to the tune of $150 million as part of what appears to be broad capitulation to a national, Black Lives Matter backed movement to abolish and defund police departments. Cuts have also gone through in Seattle, Portland, New York, and other cities that rely on law enforcement to protect citizens, property, and to maintain order.
In many cases, that money is intended to be used on more social services. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said that this was a model of law enforcement defunding that he was considering as well.
Advocates of police abolition claim that social service professionals should be responding to what appear to be nonviolent calls. Law enforcement personnel in Texas are not too keen on the measures, as evidenced by the post.
It reads: "Today, TMPA released two billboards (pictured below), along Interstate 35, entering Austin, intended to raise public awareness that Austin is a defunded city. This reckless act, a political stunt by the city council pandering to the radical left, will do nothing but endanger the people of Austin."
"As the largest police association in Texas, it is our duty and responsibility to stand up for the brave men and woman of the APD, as well as the other law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction within the city limits which will have less of APDs resources to depend on, and to raise public awareness of the dangers of defunding not just Austin, but any city across the U.S," it continued.
Elected leaders in Texas also praised the billboards. Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick said that Austin's ignoring public safety is dangerous, and a big mistake.
Governor Gregg Abbott agreed.