Houston News : What defunding the police in Texas could look like

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Austin police investigate a homicide shooting which occurred at a demonstration against police violence in downtown Austin, Saturday, July 25, 2020. (Stephen Spillman/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Austin police investigate a homicide shooting which occurred at a demonstration against police violence in downtown Austin, Saturday, July 25, 2020. (Stephen Spillman/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Photo: Stephen Spillman, Associated Press

Photo: Stephen Spillman, Associated Press

Austin police investigate a homicide shooting which occurred at a demonstration against police violence in downtown Austin, Saturday, July 25, 2020. (Stephen Spillman/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Austin police investigate a homicide shooting which occurred at a demonstration against police violence in downtown Austin, Saturday, July 25, 2020. (Stephen Spillman/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Photo: Stephen Spillman, Associated Press

What defunding the police in Texas could look like

Defunding the police, in Texas?

Three Austin city councilmembers have unveiled their latest attempt to put money in the hands of workers they say are better equipped to handle certain calls better than Austin police officers. The proposals drew criticism from Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who previously headed the police department in Austin.

Councilmembers Leslie Pool, Greg Casar and Jimmy Flannigan each submitted separate proposals detailing their ideas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Those proposals include:

Moving money from cadet classes to domestic violence shelters, homeless services, mental health services 
Breaking up divisions within Austin PD to create separate civilian-headed departments focused on types of crimes, such as investigations, patrol and professional standards 
Bringing down overtime and mounted patrol budgets 
Cutting budgets for Austin PD’s bomb squad and lake patrol 

The proposals could pull close to $100 million away from Austin PD. They come after now-charged police officers in Minneapolis killed former Houston resident George Floyd in a violent confrontation over an allegedly fake $20 bill.

“I think it’s really important for the community to understand and for us to act in a way that shows that this is about reducing harm and reducing violence, and that is a big part of why we’re trying to change public safety budgets, because we want to make things safer,” Casar said, according to the newspaper.

While reforms like these are making their way through Austin’s city council, Houston by contrast has increased its funding for its police department, according to the Rice / Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The central Texas proposals also drew fire from Acevedo.

“Approach to homelessness was not a huge success, now this?” Acevedo tweeted Wednesday morning. “People in what has been one of the greatest and safest cities in America should get ready for the results that are sure to follow.”

In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner claims the city is in a shortage of police officers, an argument used in part to defend the city’s nearly $1 billion budget for police. HPD’s appropriations increased at twice the rate of the rest of the city’s in the most recent budget approved by the Houston city council, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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Source : chron.com