Texas Police Group Puts Up Billboards Outside Of Austin: “Enter At Your Own Risk! Police Defunded!”

Austin is in Travis County, Texas and it went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016. That’s good enough reason to avoid the place!

“The Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) has put up two billboards along Interstate 35 entering Austin after the city council voted last month to cut the Austin police budget. One of them reads: “Warning! Austin defunded police. Enter at your own risk!”

The second says, “Limited support next 20 miles,” according to the association.

TMPA, the largest law enforcement association in Texas, said on Facebook it released the billboards – which include the hashtag #BacktheBlue – “to raise public awareness that Austin is a defunded city.”

BIG TMPA NEWS!Today, TMPA released two billboards (pictured below), along Interstate 35, entering Austin, intended to…

Posted by TMPA on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick backed the campaign, calling them “great new billboards” in a tweet on Wednesday, while Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted about them with the hashtag #TexasBacksTheBlue.

Abbott has called on every Texan and candidate for public office to sign a pledge against defunding the state’s police departments and post it on social media Thursday afternoon to show support for law enforcement.

“Defunding our police departments would invite crime into our communities and put people in danger,” reads the pledge. “That is why I pledge to support any measure that discourages or stops efforts to defund police departments in Texas.”

“Defunding the police” has been a focal point for protesters who have taken to the streets in recent months following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Some cities across the U.S. have acted on the calls, which come as part of a wider movement against racial injustice and police brutality.

VIDEO: Person shot at BLM protest in Austin

Supporters have said “defunding” isn’t about doing away with all funding for police departments. The practice is often a reallocation of some money from law enforcement to other services that could help the community.

In Austin, the city council approved a $150 million cut in funding to the Austin Police Department last month, with the majority of money being redirected to other departments and social services, according to CBS Austin.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and other council members argue the changes will improve public safety. He took to Twitter last month to explain the changes.

“This budget responds to concerns expressed all over the community and embodies our values as a city. New investment is focused on the underlying causes of crime,” he wrote.

The new budget maximizes officer effort and invests in programs and strategies to decrease crime, Adler said.

Adler has pointed to Denver as a city that effectively transformed its police department, CBS Austin reports. Denver is now sending mental health professionals instead of police to respond to non-violent 911 calls. According to Adler, none of the calls in Denver have required police backup. This frees up officers for other police work.

While cities like Denver and Austin call the defunding effort “reimagining public safety,” others, including Texas Governor Abbott, see it as a threat to law and order, according to CBS Austin.

However, Adler says Austin continues to be the safest big city in Texas. “I mean you could have a 50% increase in homicides in Austin and you still wouldn’t get up to where Fort Worth is, a smaller city than we are,” the mayor said.

In a news conference Thursday, Abbott, a Republican, was joined by other officials who signed the pledge against defunding police departments in the state.

Texas Democrats issued their own pledge in response to the “Back the Blue” campaign. The Democrats’ “Texas First Pledge” includes protecting public health by following scientists’ recommendations in responding to COVID-19, providing coverage for pre-existing conditions, and supporting small businesses and education. The party shared the pledge on Twitter and urged Abbott and Senator John Cornyn, a fellow Republican, to sign it.

Jeff Rainforth is a freelance photographer & news editor covering events on the US/Mexico border, and riots & unrest in Democrat-run cities.
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About Jeff Rainforth 571 Articles
Jeff covers border news in the US and has traveled around the world documenting the border walls and counter-terrorism efforts of other countries. He runs the Rainforth Report on Substack. In 2022 Jeff embarked on a border crisis tour, documenting cartel trafficking of drugs and humans. The year before he was contracted to film on the border with Ben Bergquam of America's Voice News and also for Women Fighting for America. Jeff was the videographer for the March for Trump bus tour which crossed the country twice and ended on January 6th, 2021 in DC at the Capitol. He filmed the events that took place at the Capitol Building. Jeff was the videographer and news editor for We Build the Wall, the organization founded by triple-amputee vet hero Brian Kolfage. He was the sole photographer allowed to be on site to document the construction of the first ever privately built border wall. Jeff has worked on Kolfage's projects since 2015. Steve Bannon sent Jeff to embed with the Hong Kong protesters, covering their fight for freedom against the Chinese Communist Party, and regularly films inside of riots in Democrat-run cities in the United States. Bannon also sent Jeff to film for a documentary on border walls in mainland China as COVID was about to emerge from the country. Bannon and Kolfage then sent Jeff to film walls and counter-terrorism efforts in Thailand, Malaysia, Israel by the Gaza Strip, Hungary & Serbia, France, Spain, and north Africa. As of 2022 Jeff is an editor at Populist Press and other news sites. Jeff did a special 2nd Amendment project for Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill who killed Bin Laden, and he was the national rally organizer to free Marine Sgt. Tahmooressi from the Mexican prison. He is chairman emeritus of Ross Perot’s Reform Party of California, and a former candidate for governor. He wrote for former war correspondent & Breitbart contributor, Pat Dollard, and headed up his 30-person research team. Mr. Rainforth also wrote for the Wayne Dupree Show. Jeff is a two-time nominee for the prestigious Blog Bash Award for best activism for organizing the national movement to form a select committee on Benghazi, and for his role as the national rally organizer to free Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi from Mexican imprisonment. Jeff appears in Sgt. Tahmooressi's mother's book, "When Light Prevails."

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