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January 1, Police Crisis: Staffing Shortage Leaves 911 Calls Unanswered



The Austin, Texas police department is on the brink of making drastic changes to the way the city is policed, as the ongoing staffing crisis continues to stretch resources thin, sometimes leaving calls on hold for hours.

FOX 7 in Austin reported that the police association president, Michael Bullock, said officers are cutting their availability to respond to 911 calls almost in half because the department does not have enough officers to respond. “We’re about to hit a critical point,” Bullock told the station.

Last year, the department was on the verge of a staffing collapse after 40 officers filed retirement papers following a 9-2 city council vote to scrap a four-year contract that the city had previously agreed to in principle and instead pursue a 1-year contract that the police union’s board had rejected.

The issue was not money, but instead was about the respect and lack of respect they were getting from the city council, Austin Retired Officers Association President Dennis Farris said at the time.

Bullock said the department lost over 160 officers and over the past year, only 75 were added back.

“Right now, the biggest priority is how we allocate what few resources we have to where it’s the most effective,” he told the station, adding the answer may be to consolidate shifts.

The city has nine sectors, and when staffed, each has about 10 officers working per shift. The shifts, the station reported, often overlap during peak hours to provide better response. But according to Bullock, that is not happening.

“Right now, most evening shifts are showing up at around 4 p.m., four officers that might be able to show up, and there are some I know that are at two, and I know there are shifts that have showed up with one officer,” he said.

Not only is it not safe for the officers, but the community is not being served effectively.

“There will be 15 or 20 calls that are holding, that officers have not been able to get to, and they’ve been holding for 2, 4, 10 hours,” Bullock told the station.

Crime stats in the city have not changed much from previous years, and Bullock said that is the case because the department and its officers are “bending over backwards” to do what is needed to maintain staffing, backfill shifts and consolidate schedules.

Rather than being proactive with calls, the department is being reactive, according to Bullock.

“The changes that are having to come right now are indicative of the staffing crisis and the overall public safety situation that we’re dealing with here in Austin,” he said.

The Austin City Council and then-Mayor Steve Adler voted to gut APD’s funding by about a third in August 2020, leading to a swift officer exodus. The Texas legislature passed a law that effectively forced the city to restore that funding the following year, but the defunding and cancelation of cadet classes left the department well short of its recommended staffing level.

Why It Matters (op-ed)

The ongoing staffing crisis in the Austin Police Department is a direct result of the city council’s misguided decision to defund the police. This dangerous move has left the city’s safety in jeopardy, with officers stretched thin and unable to respond effectively to emergencies.

This is a prime example of the far-left’s reckless agenda, putting political correctness above the well-being of citizens. The consequences are clear: a police force struggling to protect the community and a city left vulnerable to crime. It’s time to prioritize public safety and restore the respect and support our brave officers deserve.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.




  1. Flashfly

    January 11, 2024 at 9:49 am

    That’s what happens when [people vote for the Democrat Party, which chooses to defund police rather than support them!

  2. Eloise

    January 11, 2024 at 10:36 am

    Austin is a far-left city, favoring criminals over police. Its city council’s foolish decision to defund the police is the catalyst causing a mass exodus of police officers. Why would a police officer want to work for a city that disrespects police? Go woke, go broke. Wise up, Austin. Your radical leftist bias is dangerous, wrong-headed, and stupid.

  3. Mark

    January 11, 2024 at 12:39 pm

    It is time for the city council to solve this problem in twenty days!! I have close friends who live in the city that are very concerned what will happen if changes are not made!! This is America, the best place to live in the world!! City government needs to take care of the citizens with in the city, the state of Texas!!

  4. Charles P. Maloney Jr

    January 11, 2024 at 7:32 pm

    I stand behind aallllll Officers who put on a shield and a gun to help all the communities!

  5. CharlieSeattle

    January 11, 2024 at 9:44 pm

    There are safer and much more supportive political areas for police to relocate to in Florida!

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