Austin police billboard, ‘Enter at your own risk’ | Texas Municipal Police Association .
The Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) has purchased two billboard ads in the Austin area warning drivers to “enter at your own risk” after the Austin City Council voted to defund the Austin Police Department, reallocating approximately $150 million from its budget.
According to the TMPA, one board is on the west side of Interstate 35 facing north about one mile south of FM 1325. The second is on the west side of I-35 facing south. It’s about 1,500 feet north of Burleson Street in Kyle just before Exit 248 going southbound.
The billboards state, “Warning! Austin police defunded. Enter at your own risk! #BackTheBlue.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has explained the reallocations as follows:
- $21 million for “reinvestments” – Money that would have been used for three cadet classes, overtime, filling officer vacancies and some equipment will instead be used to hire more paramedics, mental health response teams and a slew of social services from workforce development to housing services for the homeless.
- $80 million for “decoupling” – Funding departments currently under the umbrella of police that council members think should be run by other agencies. This includes the 911 call center, forensics lab and even some traditional policing units like internal affairs and the special events unit.
- $49 million for “reimagining” – Though this won’t happen immediately, the council wants to potentially eliminate entire units, including the lake patrol and traffic enforcement, for alternative public safety options.