Billboards posted near the Austin city limits warn motorists traveling to the Texas capitol to do so at their own risk, after the city council voted to defund the police department last month.
“Warning!” caution the bulletins posted along the I-35 corridor.
“Austin Police Defunded,” it reads in giant red letters. “Enter at your own risk!”
New: 'Enter at your own risk!' billboards sponsored by @TMPALegislative are now up along I-35 in Austin.
— John Engel (@EngelsAngle) September 9, 2020
The billboard, which also features the hashtag #BackTheBlue, was commissioned by The Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA), which dubs itself “the Voice of Texas Law Enforcement.”
More on the signs’ precise locations from News4SanAntonio.com:
One is placed on the west side of I-35, facing north, one mile south of FM 1325.
Another is on the west side of I-35, facing south, just north of Burleson in Kyle, before exit 248.
The sign criticizes the Democrat-run Austin City Council’s decision last month to cut the police department budget by $150 million, taking dozens of officers off the streets and transferring the funds to social service programs.
“Beginning in October, about $21 million will fund social services, community resources including response to the coronavirus, mental health aid programs, violence prevention, victim services and food, housing and abortion access,” the AP reported last month.
The billboard comes as Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) last week proposed allowing the state to take control of the Austin Police Department.
In a statement, TMPA Executive Director Kevin Lawrence praised the move and emphasized the billboard’s message.
“The safety of Austin citizens and visitors has never been more at risk from dangerous policies propagated by their own locally elected officials,” Lawrence said. “We applaud Governor Abbott’s consideration of a legislative proposal that would put the control of the Austin Police Department under state authority.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott is asking “every Texan & every candidate for public office” across the state to sign a pledge to “Back the Blue” and “oppose any efforts to defund the police.”
Some want to defund our police — but we can’t allow it.
I’m calling on every Texan & every candidate for public office to join me in signing a pledge AGAINST defunding police tomorrow at 2 PM CT.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 9, 2020
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