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New group fights to protect APD changes

Friday, January 22, 2021 by Jo Clifton

A coalition of groups favoring City Council’s decision to reallocate money from the Austin Police Department budget is gathering signatures on a petition to show support for actions such as delaying police cadet classes and eliminating vacant police officer positions. The coalition, operating under the name Austin Is Safer When, is also planning to oppose reinstatement of the ordinance prohibiting camping in public places. Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition told the Austin Monitor the coalition plans to campaign against the Save Austin Now effort. Save Austin Now turned in more than 20,000 signatures to City Clerk Jannette Goodall this week to place the issue on the May ballot. Groups opposing that effort include the Texas Fair Defense Project, Austin Justice Coalition, Just Liberty, Texas Appleseed, the Survivor Justice Project, the Workers Defense Project and Measure, working under the auspices of the Action Network to defend decisions made by Council last summer under the umbrella of Reimagining Public Safety. According to the Austin Is Safer When website, “I know that Austin is already one of the safest cities in America, but #AustinIsSaferWhen we respect all our communities and address each crisis with an appropriate solution. I know that, despite persistent misinformation, Austin didn’t cut $150 million from the budget or layoff officers. The Austin City Council launched a #ReimagineATX public safety process and took a good first step by moving $21 million from the police budget to fund alternative first responders and services for people in need. If city officials hold to their commitments, #ReimagineATX will make us even safer with each step forward.”

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