Texas DPS troopers to patrol Austin streets as city copes with police shortage crisis

AP Photo/Eric Gay

City of Austin leaders announced in a press release Monday that the city is partnering with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to provide law enforcement services. The city is experiencing the effects of failed policing policies in the state capital. There are fewer officers and increased crime. The goal is to improve safety, improve police times, decrease traffic fatalities, and decrease crime.


DPS has its work cut out for it. The agency has agreed to provide state troopers and agents with a focus on traffic issues and on violent crime. They will also provide backup during emergency situations. The city’s current mayor is pleased with the partnership, as is a conservative member of the Austin City Council.

“During my run for mayor, I promised we would make city government work better in providing basic services,” Mayor Kirk Watson said. “This is an example of that. It’s a common-sense, practical response to a serious need and arose out of a positive working relationship between the Capital City and the Capitol of Texas.”

Watson thanked Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for helping to get a partnership in place, and DPS Director Steven McCraw for stepping in to help provide safety to the community.

“I’m looking forward to the collaboration between the City of Austin and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is a step towards enhancing law enforcement presence on our streets,” City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly told Fox News Digital. “Thanks to the Mayor, Governor, and Lt. Governor for their collaborative work during a low staffing period. I will continue working with the Mayor’s office and the City Council to strengthen public safety in Austin.”


This is what happens when a woke city council and mayor decide to defund the local police department. In this case, it was a particularly poor decision because Austin is the state capital of Texas. The city attracts tourists. Not only was the decision to go woke in policing a bad public safety decision, but it was also a bad business decision, too. Crime is up, including violent crime. Recently there have been headlines about the streets being taken over by illegal street racing at night.

Earlier this month, it was reported that there are over 300 vacancies in the police department. Officers are quitting because they feel a lack of respect. The city has become a hostile place toward conservatives and law enforcement. Seventy-seven officers are expected to retire before the end of this month, according to the Austin Police Association.

In February, Austin police officers, past and present, warned the community that the police force was struggling because of defunding during the riots of 2020. Thirty police officers voted to reject a four-year contract the city had agreed to. Instead, the city council decided to pursue a one-year contract which the police union’s board rejected.

There were massive budget cuts to the police department by the city council during the Summer of Love in 2020, including slashing police cadet classes and cuts in staffing. It may take 10 years for the city to recover. Former Mayor Steve Adler and then-Council Member Greg Casar were responsible for leading the vote to make the cuts, which was unanimous. Because of the cuts, the police department’s budget was slashed and several specialist anti-crime units were cut.


It should be noted that council member Mackenzie Kelly, a conservative, was elected after the budget cut vote was taken. The people replacing the woke former mayor and city council member took steps to implement new recruitment and retention strategies. The department is trying to build itself back up.

Like other cities in Texas, Austin is growing. Austin is now turning to the state for help in dealing with its growing crime problem. DPS troopers have statewide jurisdiction. The agency has provided support in San Antonio and Dallas in the past to reduce crime rates. It is unprecedented for Austin, though. The connection in Austin is clear between the woke defund the police movement and the disastrous rise in crime, particularly violent crime. DPS troopers will be stationed throughout the city.

Chief Chacon noted that traffic fatalities and gun violence are on the rise in Austin. In a statement, the City of Austin said positioning additional DPS troopers to patrol Austin’s streets and highways and respond to violent crime and traffic incidents will make a positive impact on safety.

“This is a wonderful resource and partnership that will provide relief to our APD officers and detectives who want nothing more than to focus on keeping Austin safe – whether that’s responding to domestic violence incidents, combatting DWI or investigating criminal activity,” Chacon said. “DPS has always provided valuable support – such as in the recent arrests of individuals involved in the February street takeovers – and providing these significant and strategic resources will help make Austin a safer city.”


Governor Abbott has floated the idea of a state takeover of the police department. That idea hasn’t come to fruition but it was mentioned in a last-ditch attempt to find solutions to Austin’s increased crime rates. Mayor Watson was narrowly elected in a December runoff. He ran on a promise to work with Republican state officials in a pragmatic way.

City officials and the police union remain at odds over civilian oversight and pay as negotiations over a new police labor contract continue.

Watson insisted that the plan happened organically from a conversation he had with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

“This is support and supplement,” Watson said. “Not override and overtake.”

Going woke kills, especially in the management of police departments. Major cities are in chaos due to the defund the police movement. Violent crime is escalating in many cities. There is a shortage of police officers in cities across the country. Morale is low. Recruitment numbers are down. Now, in Texas, the state has to step in to help with law enforcement in the state capital. Let’s hope positive results are seen quickly and Austinites are feeling safe in their city soon.

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