AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday, the Save Austin Now PAC announced that it has officially submitted more than 25,600 "self-validated" signatures in its #MakeAustinSafe initiative.
The petition drive kicked off on May 26 and was completed about 55 days later.
The ordinance the group is aiming to get on the next ballot would:
- Ensure adequate police staffing: "Requires a minimum of two police officers per 1,000 population, a nationally recognized standard for safe cities, combined with a minimum of 35% community response time (or uncommitted time)."
- Double police training: "Requires an additional 40 hours of post-cadet class training hours per year, making Austin the national model for police training."
- Enact police reform: "Includes provisions to boost minority hiring (through foreign language proficiency), ensure racially diverse community policing, and provides retention bonuses for officers without police complaints (Good Conduct Medal eligible officers)."
Co-founders Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek on Monday released the following joint statement after submission:
“We are thrilled to ensure our ballot position for the Nov. 2, 2021, election. To everyone who has supported this effort by signing our petition, collecting signed petitions, volunteering, donating and sharing our content, we are deeply grateful. Austin has never been less safe than it is today and the police staffing crisis continues to worsen. In just 107 days, Austin will become the first major city to overturn defund the police through a citizen vote. Our city supports law enforcement, even if City Hall does not. Our message to Steve Adler and Greg Casar is this: November is coming.”
To learn more about the political action committee, click here.
Not everyone stands in support of the petition, including members of the Austin Justice Coalition.
“The local Republican Party, Gov. Greg Abbott, Congressman Chip Roy, and some of Austin’s wealthiest Republicans are attacking our local democracy once again,” said Sukyi McMahon, senior policy director of the Austin Justice Coalition. “They’re trying to force our city to hire 500 more police officers next year even if it means slashing other safety services or public programs.”
“This petition sets a mandatory police officer staffing requirement that will require, initially, at least 500 new officers at a cost of roughly $50 million,” added Kathy Mitchell, policy coordinator for Just Liberty. “More and more police officers will have to be hired every year no matter what is happening with crime, while we would have to underfund other public safety priorities like EMS. That’s absurd.”
Organizations that have spoken out against the petition include:
- ACLU of Texas
- AFSCME Local 1624
- Austin Area Urban League
- Austin Community Law Center
- Austin Justice Coalition
- Black Lives Matter Austin
- CAIR Austin
- Grassroots Law Project
- Ground Game Texas
- Indivisible Austin
- Indivisible Rosedale Huddle
- Just Liberty
- Planning Our Communities
- Statewide Leadership Council
- Survivor Justice Project
- Texas Appleseed
- Texas Civil Rights Project
- Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
- Texas Harm Reduction Alliance
- Texas Fair Defense Project
- Texas Freedom Network
- Texas Women's Coalition
- Travis County Democratic Party
- Workers Defense Action Fund
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