Austin votes against more cops in prop A: election results


The city of Austin voted against the city’s proposed amendment to establish a minimum police force and require there to be at least two police officers per 1,000 residents, according to unofficial 2021 election results.

Proposal A took center stage in Tuesday’s municipal elections, giving residents a chance to decide whether or not the city should add more police officers to its department.

The vote was 32.03 percent in favor and 67.97 percent against, according to early vote projections of election data from the Travis County Clerk’s Office.

If the proposed amendment were passed, the city would be required to add 40 hours of police training each year on topics such as active fire scenarios, defense tactics and the mandate that 35% of the work shift be an officer should be devoted to unengaged time – often referred to as community engagement time – and not in answering calls.

To ensure that shifts are adequately staffed within Prop A’s time arrangement, the city should have staffed a police-to-citizen ratio of between 2.1 per 1,000 and 2.5 per 1,000.

To do this, the city estimates it should have hired an additional 403 to 885 agents over the next five years. It would cost Austin between $ 271.5 and $ 598.8 million over five years, according to an estimate from Austin CFO Ed Van Eenoo.

The estimate is in addition to the Austin Police Department’s budget of $ 442 million that city council approved for 2021-2022. It is not known where this money would come from, however, Mayor Steve Adler and some members of Austin City Council have suggested the city may need to cut funding from other departments, including Austin Fire, to fund Prop A. .

The measure of the ballot has been a popular topic for residents and has made many expect the race to end with the wire.

As a result, political action committees on both sides of the vote have worked tirelessly over the past few months to encourage voters to vote for them.

Save Austin Now, the local PAC that helped get Austin’s camping ban approved in May, collected signatures in August to secure the police staffing action on the Nov. 2 ballot. The committee raised more than $ 1 million to campaign for Prop A, according to their own reports.

A similar amount was raised by the Equity PAC, which is linked to the No Way on Prop A counter-campaign. After weeks of organizing to defeat Prop A, the coalition has grown to include more than 115 organizations. , 39 elected officials and more. more than 200 people

“Tonight is a victory for the safety of all Austinians and for our democracy. Proposition A was an irresponsible voting measure that would have forced Austin to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on the police department in cutting funding to other essential municipal services, “said Laura Hernandez Holmes, campaign manager for No Way on Prop A.” No Way on Prop A has built one of the largest and most diverse groups in the world. Austin’s political history and, together, our coalition has exposed the truth about Prop A by cutting through the lingering lies of the Republican front group Save Austin Now.

“We know that the safest cities have more resources, not more police officers. Members of our coalition will continue to fight disinformation and propaganda, and support comprehensive and community-based approaches to public safety.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who strongly opposed Proposal A, said the Austinites came forward and rejected the proposal on Tuesday.

“This election reaffirms our community’s belief that public safety for all requires a comprehensive system that includes not only staffing our police but also our fire, EMS and mental health responses,” said Adler in a press release Tuesday evening. “Deep down, we are an innovative, caring and creative community. We see it once again in this election and it makes me proud to live in this magical place.”

City Councilor Greg Casar said Tuesday that Austin was “overwhelmingly” opposed to Proposal A, which “would have decimated the city’s budget and harmed public safety.”

“Austin responded overwhelmingly tonight: We believe in criminal justice reform. We believe in comprehensive public safety – not just putting the poor and working people behind bars,” Casar said in a statement Tuesday. “Tonight’s results show the Austinites have rejected the right-wing divide and are moving forward for gradual change. Our city will continue to fight for comprehensive public safety, civil rights and a better city for all.”

Other local officials who opposed Proposition A included Travis County Judge Andy Brown, most of Austin City Council, Congressman Lloyd Doggett and District 50 Representative Celia Israel.

Besides local officials, it was the overwhelming opposition of the Austin Firefighters Association and the Austin EMS Association that turned heads in this election.

In October, AFA President Bob Nicks said Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak was trying to “manipulate” the association’s voting process.

RELATED: Austin Firefighters Association opposes Proposal A

“Firefighters love and support our cops, but make no mistake about it,” Nicks said. “The Austin Police Department has the funds available to hire 229-300 police officers today… They have a hiring problem, not a funding problem. We suggest they hire more officers as soon as that happens. possible.”

With the proposal unsuccessful, it is still unclear what the city’s plan is to help the largely understaffed Austin police on the streets.

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