AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — A Texas law enforcement association erected two billboards last week, warning drivers to enter Austin at their own risk after the city reduced its police department budget.
“Warning!!! Austin Police Defunded Enter at Your Own Risk,” one sign reads.
“Limited Support Next 20 Miles” the other sign says.
Both were erected along Interstate-35 by the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) Wednesday.
Austin City Council voted in August to slash the police department’s budget by $150 million with immediate cuts totaling $21.5 million, according to KEYE-TV.
The funds will be redirected to other departments and social services, KEYE reported.
“This reckless act, a political stunt by the city council pandering to the radical left, will do nothing but endanger the people of Austin,” TMPA said in a statement on its Facebook page.
The organization also said it is its responsibility “to stand up for the brave men and woman of the APD” and raise awareness “of the dangers of defunding not just Austin, but any city across the U.S.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans in August to freeze property taxes in cities that vote to defund their police departments. The state is particularly dependent on property taxes for revenue.
The governor also proposed last week that any city that defunds police would “forever lose” its annexation powers and that any residents who have been annexed already would be able to vote to “dis-annex” themselves from that city.
“Combine together all of these proposals will make it basically financially impossible to defund law enforcement and it should leave Austin with no choice but to restore the cuts that they’ve already made to law enforcement,” Abbott said last week.
The Dallas City Council voted on an amendment last Wednesday evening to reduce overtime at the police department by $7 million.
Calls to defund police departments across the country came this year amid protests calling for justice after the deaths of multiple Black people at the hands of police, including George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.
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