AUSTIN, Texas - Debate over defunding police departments continues at the city and state level and today Texas Governor Greg Abbott has joined other state leaders in signing a pledge against defunding police departments in Texas.
Gov. Abbott has asked all Texans to join him in the "Back The Blue" pledge.
Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and members of the Austin Police Association attended the news conference.
The news conference comes as the Texas Municipal Police Association has launched a billboard campaign in support of the Austin Police Department. Two outdoor billboards have been placed on I-35 condemning the Austin City Council's actions to defund APD.
Supporters of the billboards say they're simply warning those coming into town of being at the potential risk for greater crime. Opponents argue the signs are nothing but a driving force of fear.
In his most recent "Got A Minute" segment, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he actually supports local law enforcement and what the governor is doing. He says he doesn't quite understand the governor's pledge and feels the motive behind it is political.
After the press conference, Adler released a statement, saying:
"To be clear - Austin City leaders have neither defunded the police department nor support doing so. I'm unaware of any elected official who believes differently. The Governor's pledge is political theatre intended to scare and distract us from important public safety conversations about opening our children's schools and saving lives during the pandemic or whether police should be mental health first responders and social workers. Austin is the safest big city in Texas and among the few safest in the country. We'll continue to make an already safe city even safer and, importantly, safer for everyone. As we get closer to November, expect more distractions that intend to divide rather than unite."
You can get more information about the pledge here.