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‘Police Brain Drain’ Hits California, Texas Benefits

Police officer | Image by HJBC/Shutterstock
Police officer | Image by HJBC/Shutterstock

Reporting suggests that hundreds of police officers have left California for Texas due to a purported lack of support from local authorities.

Gov. Greg Abbott highlighted a report from The Daily Mail on his social media account on Sunday that blamed “soft-on-crime” policies for potentially sparking “a cop brain drain.”

According to the report, thousands of California police officers have found greener pastures in Texas, Montana, and Arizona since 2019, with the majority ending up in the Lone Star State.

Gina Miller, who traded in a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy uniform for a job with the Lewisville Police Department in 2021, told The Daily Mail that loopholes in the Sunshine State’s legal system left her and other law enforcement personnel feeling “pointless” and unsafe.

“If I take someone to jail [in Texas], they’re actually going to stay in jail until they see a judge,” she added.

For instance, former California Gov. Jerry Brown and California voters passed a law — Proposition 57 — to reduce the prison population by offering early parole to non-violent offenders in 2016. However, the state’s legal definition of violent crime excluded assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.

“It was heartbreaking to be telling this victim, ‘I know your husband just tried to kill you, but he’s already out of jail, so just call us if he comes back,'” Miller said.

Evan Leona, another transplant to North Texas, echoed these remarks, noting that he had run into hundreds of fellow Californian officers in the region since joining the Denton police force in 2022.

“There are five officers who have come from various agencies in California on my shift alone in Denton,” he said, per The Daily Mail. “The justice system just works a lot better here.”

Miller recalled having been violently assaulted by a suspect, who ultimately was released just a few months later. He additionally claimed that the “revolving doors” situation in California could be blamed on Proposition 47, a ballot measure passed in 2014.

Similar to the infamous theft amnesty policy that Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot briefly implemented in 2022, Proposition 47 reclassified certain low-level offenses — including most drug possessions and thefts of goods valued under $950 — from felonies to misdemeanors to curb overcrowding in prisons.

Leona predicts that the exodus of police officers from the Golden State is unlikely to slow anytime soon.

“They would have to completely change the legislation in California,” he told The Daily Mail. “But that’s not going to happen.”

Meanwhile, Texas lawmakers have not been shy about courting potential police officers from out of state. For instance, Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) took out a full-page spread in the New York Post last month telling officers to quit the NYPD for departments and agencies in Texas, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.

“Your lives don’t have to be endangered by violent career criminals who are never locked up,” the ad claimed while making scathing remarks against NYC politicians.

“You don’t have to be beaten on the streets by gangs of illegal immigrant criminals. And you don’t have to be endlessly insulted with budget cuts by Defund the Police politicians. It’s time for you to leave these loathsome and destructive fools behind. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK!”

Despite the migration of police to the Lone Star State, officials in Dallas have struggled to get the Dallas Police Department staffed at the levels recommended by a City analysis, which recommended roughly 4,000 officers were needed to get police response times where they need to be and properly maintain public safety, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Currently, only around 3,000 officers are in the field.

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