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Austin police support Protect and Serve PAC

Monday, August 10, 2020 by Jo Clifton

In response to the nationwide movement to reduce funding for police departments, police in Fort Worth have launched the Protect and Serve PAC, a federal super PAC. According to the group’s spokesman, Manny Ramirez, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, the group’s mission is to highlight candidates who embrace what the PAC calls “the disastrous policy of ‘defunding the police,'” as opposed to those who “recognize the central role law enforcement plays in keeping our cities and neighborhoods safe.” Commander Donald Baker, president of the Austin Police Association PAC, said his group supports the Protect and Serve PAC. Ramirez led efforts to defeat a police defunding effort that was on the ballot in Fort Worth in July. Voters were asked whether they wanted to continue a 0.5 percent sales tax that has funded law enforcement in the city since 1995; continuing the funding won with 65 percent of the vote. Cary Roberts, executive director of the Greater Austin Crime Commission, said the idea of putting police funding on the ballot was an interesting one, but his group had not considered doing such a thing. The commission recently released the results of a poll showing that the majority of Austinites do not support the idea of defunding the police. Baker said the APA PAC has not endorsed any city candidates and would not consider doing so until after the Aug. 17 filing deadline. The PAC currently has about $151,000 in its account, as of its most recent filing with the Texas Ethics Commission.

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