Early voting began in Travis County this past week, and it’s important to know what’s on the ballot. Perhaps the biggest vote this cycle is whether to pass Proposition A, a new bill that would heavily affect Austin’s policing system.
Prop A aims to increase funding and resources for the Austin Police Department. It would require every 1,000 Austin residents to be allocated at least two officers, and would increase the required police training by 40 hours. Consequently, it would allocate a lot of money to the APD and increase police presence in Austin.
The debate about Prop A goes back to the larger controversy surrounding defunding the police, a movement that encourages divesting from the police budget and reinvesting in other sectors. Proponents of funneling funds to the policing department say a budget increase is necessary because of high crime rates in Austin, while the opposing viewpoint says increasing the police budget will divert funds from more integral sectors and put more citizens in danger of experiencing police violence.
If Prop A is passed, it would likely reallocate funds to the APD and take those funds from other public sectors, including parks, community development and education. There have also been a number of experts that suggest police training is not nearly as effective as it needs to be. Some critics say this indicates APD doesn’t need more funds, and this money has better uses elsewhere.
The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 2, and the Flawn Academic Center will be open! Make sure to bring your ID and go out and vote!