Neighborhood Network

June 7, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

You’re going to hear from me every day this week. The stakes are high at City Hall.

George Floyd’s death was a homicide. It was wrong and has caused the country and our community to face hard truths. During this generational moment, we have an opportunity to join together to make Austin safer for everyone.

But you can’t solve one public safety crisis by creating another.

On Thursday, the Austin City Council will consider several resolutions that impact the police department and public safety in our community. Notably, Item 50 (Garza), Item 95 (Casar), and Item 96 (Harper-Madison). Many policies that the Greater Austin Crime Commission supports are included, such as reducing racial disparity in traffic enforcement, using de-escalation tactics instead of deadly force, increased staffing for mental health response, and Naloxone training for overdoses.

However…

Item 95 indefinitely delays the next police cadet class.

Item 96 cuts 195 police positions in the city budget, which will be released next month.

Police reforms can and should be made without jeopardizing the safety of our neighborhoods. Wiping out police positions will cripple response times when aggravated assaults, robberies, and property crime are rising. These cuts will reduce authorized strength to its lowest level since 2014. Eliminating police positions will stop recruiting and training for years and have a devastating financial effect on the Austin Police Retirement System.

What can you do?

Call and email the mayor and city council.

Tell them you oppose cutting police positions and delaying the July cadet class.

Tell them you support Chief Brian Manley and 1,793 police officers who are keeping us safe under extraordinary circumstances.

You can also sign up to speak at the virtual city council meeting next Thursday. Click here for instructions. Public comment will be allowed via telephone. Speaker registration for the council meeting will open on Monday, June 8, at 10:00 a.m. The deadline to sign up is noon on Wednesday, June 10.

Please help us grow the Neighborhood Network of public safety advocates in each council district. Ask your customers, family, and friends to join here.

Austin needs justice and peace. That’s why the Greater Austin Crime Commission has pledged to continue working with criminal justice reform, neighborhood, and social justice groups to find solutions.

Best,

Corby