The Austin Police Department (APD) is bleeding 15 to 22 officers per month as those departing join other departments or leave law enforcement entirely. With them goes decades of irreplaceable experience and left over is a void the City of Austin aims to fill with green recruits and a “reimagined” approach to public safety.
Political upheaval in Austin is not unlike any other situation in big cities across the country. Mass protests swept Austin as they did the nation last year after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, preceded by months of societal discord caused by the pandemic and related government shutdowns.
That was followed by grandiose promises by progressive politicians to “reimagine” the way police interact with their community.
Currently, APD has 200 vacancies and 104 officers on leave on top of the 150 positions eliminated during the 2020 budget cut and redirection. The department’s average response time ballooned from seven minutes to nearly 10 minutes since the summer of 2020. Specialized units are being disbanded and the officers who stay are being redeployed to street patrol to fill the gaps.