Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas 'a law-and-order state,' calls defunding police 'reckless'

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made clear his support for police during a recent roundtable discussion with law enforcement leaders, saying: “We will never turn our back on our law enforcement officers.”

The Republican governor detailed his support for police while speaking with nine law enforcement and public safety advocates at the headquarters of the Texas Department of Public Safety on Thursday.

During a news conference after the meeting, Abbott said the Lone Star State “will always be a law-and-order state, and we must lead the way for the rest of the nation when it comes to supporting our police.”

“The government’s number one responsibility is to keep its citizens safe, and we will not allow cities to recklessly defund the police and put innocent lives in danger,” he added.

He called defunding police “reckless” and dangerous, and specifically called out the city of Austin, where leaders voted in August 2020 to slash $150 million, or 34%, of the police department’s budget, local affiliate FOX West Texas reported.

“Defunding the police … endangers the lives of people in communities across the entire state,” Abbott said, according to the report. “We cannot, and we will not, allow cities like Austin to defund the police.”

Representatives from the Austin Police Department (APD) were not present at the meeting, but Abbott said he has spoken with APD Chief Brian Manley about the budget cuts, according to the report.

“We just made it clear that what they have done with regard to defunding police is unacceptable and we will make it fiscally impossible for them to continue to defund police in Austin,” Abbott continued. 

Speaking to news station KVUE, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said public safety “involves more than just police.”

“And we have to figure out in our community what works to make us even safer than we are now,” Adler said. “That has to be our constant push.”

After Thursday’s meeting, Abbott released a video on his Twitter, telling his followers that law enforcement leaders are working on legislation “to make sure that we fully fund police in Texas.”

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“We will defund any city that tries to defund police,” he said

Officials also discussed the topic of bail reform during the roundtable meeting, to prevent “dangerous criminals” from returning to the streets to “go and kill somebody else,” Abbott said.

He ended the Twitter video by saying: “If they have committed a heinous crime, they should not be let back out on the streets.”

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