Police Shortage Comes Into Focus After Drag Racers Take Over Austin Roads

The Austin City Council says a major intersection in the city was overtaken by street racers on Saturday night and people who called the incident into 911 were left on hold for over 30 minutes. Racers could be seen drifting and setting off fireworks at the intersection of South Lamar Boulevard and Barton Springs Road. One law enforcement officer was injured and several police cars were damaged in the mayhem.

Council member Mackenzie Kelly said Sunday, “Imagine for a moment that the incidents last night happened with large scale events going on,” adding that she is “increasingly concerned about our police vacancies.”

“The possibility of a catastrophic cascading failure due to lack of support from our police department puts the city, its residents, and visitors at risk of danger.”

“But the simple fact is that we need more police officers in this city, patrolling our streets, downtown, and major events. We need more police responding to calls for service. We need more police to reinstate specialized units. This must be an urgent priority for the new mayor and the city council.”

The Austin Police Department’s emergency communications division has been dealing with “a staffing crisis for several months, with the 911 call center lowering its minimum staffing requirements last August due to ‘unprecedented vacancy rates’.”

According to Fox:

Austin’s city council and then-Mayor Steve Adler voted to slash APD’s funding by about one-third during the 2020 riots at the height of the “defund the police” movement. That vote was supported by an activist coalition led by groups including the Austin Justice Coalition. APD’s funding was later restored in order to comply with a state law passed in 2021, but by then, officers had left APD in droves, specialized units were reduced or disbanded, and cadet classes had been canceled, so the departed officers could not be replaced.


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One thought on “Police Shortage Comes Into Focus After Drag Racers Take Over Austin Roads”

  1. This wouldn’t be a problem if citizens joined police in tan effort o shoot violent law-breakers, preferably in the head.