At a time when crime is skyrocketing across the country, many liberal cities seem preoccupied with making sure their police are sufficiently woke. Case in point: Austin. A new report from The Texan reveals the city of Austin is paying $10,000 per day to an outside firm to provide critical race training to officers. The program is part of Austin's 'reimagine the police' effort launched last year, at a time when crime is rising and the city faces a massive police officer shortage. "APD is understaffed right now, they have 163 vacancies," says Brad Johnson, reporter for The Texan. "And according to officers, the budget cut from last year only exacerbated that."
Johnson reports the training program is based on critical race theory, and purports to provide "an interactive, revolutionary exploration into how systems of racism work." Officers who participate in the course are even asked to agree to a "contract" described as a binding agreement, despite only being acknowledged by a show of hands.
"After disagreement both with the teaching and the 'contract,' various officers, including one APD commander, were asked to leave and not allowed to come back inside," says Johnson.
Last year's budget cut combined with this new training has hurt morale among Austin officers Johnson spoke with. "This is just another example of Austin and its officials creating a rift between the city leadership and its police officers," he says. "At least that's how the police themselves see it."
"The problems that have been festering for years between APD and city officials have widened the divide between official and police officer."
Austin voters will likely get the chance to reimagine police themselves this fall, with a ballot measure that would restore police funding and mandate minimum police staffing. "Mayor Steve Adler and one city council member have already started political opposition against this initiative," says Johnson. "It appears it will be on the ballot, barring some unforeseen circumstance."