The mayor of Austin has his sights set on forging a contract agreement with the new police union president.
Mayor Kirk Watson said in a recent interview that he was hopeful about reaching terms with the new Austin Police Association (APA) president, Michael Bullock, to ensure police officers have better work conditions. In the meantime, he said he will also seek the renewal of the temporary pay package passed in 2023 by city leaders.
“The new president of the APA and I have had multiple conversations. I have found him to be very clear when he says that that ordinance is important to his officers so that they feel a sense of certainty that it’s going to be renewed,” Watson said, according to the Austin Monitor.
Public safety has been a major issue in the Texas capital, with Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrolling the streets to support the woefully understaffed Austin Police Department, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Much like the Dallas Police Department, where only around 3,000 officers are fielded despite a City report calling for 4,000, APD reported as many as 337 vacancies in September.
As covered by The Dallas Express, this shortfall fueled a new crime reporting protocol requiring Dallas crime victims to report certain “non-emergency” offenses online. These offenses include shoplifting, car burglaries, child custody issues, identity theft, and certain car accidents.
Gov. Greg Abbott weighed in on the Austin policing issue recently on X, reposting another user’s remarks about Watson’s interview in which the user called out “spineless council members talking out of both sides of their mouths” over the last year.
“It’s past time for Austin to support police and to restore law & order,” Abbott added.
It’s past time for Austin to support police, and to restore law & order. https://t.co/DLFbtJ71CB
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 2, 2024