A “60 Minutes” report promoting Austin’s “reimagined” police force has been blasted for ignoring the city’s record homicides and a severe staffing shortage.
The “60 Minutes” preview for a report titled “What does reimagining police look like?” did not mention the city’s 82 homicides, instead praising the city for “leading the nation in police reform.” The previous yearly homicide for the city was 59.
Following $150 million in budget cuts last year by the City Council and Steve Adler, murders soared, and many officers decided to resign.
Indeed, Austin police say they are at a “crisis-level” in staff numbers. According to PJ Media, 20 officers retired from the APD and eight resigned in January, followed by five more resignations and sex retirements the next month. In March, 24 officers quit and 20 more retired.
“60 Minutes” posted a tweet about how the APD has dealt with the murders and staffing shortage this year.
“The Austin, Texas, police department shut down their police academy for a year to rewrite its curriculum. Sunday, Scott Pelley reports on how Austin is leading the nation in police reform,” the tweet read.
Part of the new curriculum entails the addition of mental health workers to be on dispatch, so 911 callers will have an option to request police, fire, EMS, or mental health workers.
“Offering those four choices when the police are called is at the core of a reimagining of police work taking place in the Texas capital that’s leading the nation in police reform. Amid calls for defunding law enforcement over deadly encounters between citizens and police, American cities are rethinking how to train and deploy their police forces,” CBS said.
Nowhere in their reimagined policing did they mention efforts to combat violent crime and officer vacancies, which have led to longer response times and the inability to conduct adequate investigations.
Matt Mackowiak, the co-founder of Save Austin Now, a pro-law enforcement organization that pushed an unsuccessful ballot measure to require staffing levels at the APD, called the CBS preview a “joke,” and criticized the department’s focus on critical race theory rather than maintaining staff levels.
“Mandating CRT for $10,000 a day while cutting staffing to the lowest levels in 20 years. Did @ScottPelley interview any violent crime@victims?” he tweeted.
According to a PJ media report, Austin spent millions of taxpayer dollars in 2021, with some of it going to no-bid contracts mandating critical race theory in training for new officers.
According to police officer and public affairs coordinator Jennifer Hackney-Szimanski, CBS interviewed but omitted segments from individuals whose stories shed a negatively light on the city’s new policing strategy.