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City Council slashes $150 million in funding for Austin Police

The Austin City Council has voted to pull $150 million in funding from APD (File photo: CBS Austin)
The Austin City Council has voted to pull $150 million in funding from APD (File photo: CBS Austin)
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The Austin City Council has approved the city's $4 billion budget for the next fiscal year, which includes a $150 million cut in funding to the Austin Police Department.

The majority of the funds will be re-directed to a variety of other departments and social services.

The immediate cuts total $21.5 million, and the rest is "being examined over the next few months," according to a statement from Mayor Adler's office.

"I think this is without a doubt the most significant change in Austin public safety priorities in generations," said Council member Greg Casar.

The millions of dollars cut to APD's budget is a part of the city's “re-imagining public safety” initiative.

RELATED: Dozens voice their opinion in person on Austin Police funding

$20 million previously dedicated to police cadet classes and officer overtime will instead fund services such as family violence protection, mental health resources and Austin-Travis County EMS COVID-19 response.

Austin-Travis County EMS Association President Selena Xie says her agency has been pushing the city to dedicate more resources to first responders, "Everything in this budget is a program that we have either piloted, or have been running since the beginning of the pandemic. We're just asking the city to really invest in them."

Xie says her agency is prepared for the responsibility that reallocating the funds will require.

"This is something that hasn't just started in March, in actuality a lot of these conversations have been going on for a really long time," she said.

Xie says the funds will provide a new district command center, additional ambulances, and personnel to take calls.

"We'll be able to hire and train all of the folks that we need to make sure that the city of Austin has good response times and has people that are well trained to do the job."

Although, the budget has been approved, council members say there's still work to be done.

"As we go through this work of re-imagining, we can continue to refine these numbers," said Council member Tim Flanagan.

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