The end of the COVID-19-era Title 42 policy at the southern border has prompted the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to redirect troopers away from supplementing Austin’s police force to assist on the border.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the DPS entered into an agreement with the City of Austin and the Austin Police Department (APD) in late March that allowed state troopers to augment the existing APD force, which has been suffering from staffing issues.
However, the expiration of Title 42 prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to mobilize state law enforcement in anticipation of an influx of unlawful migrant crossings from Mexico into Texas. Consequently, troopers assisting in law enforcement efforts in Austin are being drawn back.
“The department would like to take this moment to thank DPS for the work they have done to assist in keeping our community safe,” the APD said in a statement, per Fox News.
“Over the last several weeks, they have assisted in lowering the number of calls related to violent crime, removed stolen guns and vehicles from the streets, and recovered large quantities of illegal narcotics, as well as helping to increase traffic safety in our city,” the statement continued.
Austin City Council Member MacKenzie Kelly commented on the reported suspension of the partnership:
“While the situation is still evolving, we acknowledge that this may impact public safety in certain areas. Still we support their (DPS) crucial work at the border and welcome them back as soon as possible. We remain committed to ensuring safety in our city and appreciate the cooperation of our law enforcement partners.”
Violent crime allegedly dropped more than 50% in the high-crime hotspots where DPS troopers were deployed, KXAN reported.
As previously reported by The Dallas Express, the Dallas Police Department has also been suffering from a shortage of officers. In mid-April, a spokesperson said the department had a shortage of about 140 sworn personnel, which may have contributed to increased police response times.
As of May 2, overall violent crime in Dallas had improved slightly year to date from the highs of 2022. However, murders were up more than 23% over the same period last year, according to the latest publicly accessible data.