AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Department of Public Safety’s partnership with the Austin Police Department is suspended for the time being, law enforcement reports.
Texas DPS troopers since March 30 have been patrolling the capital in order to offset the effects of a police staffing shortage there. Those troopers were redirected to border cities to help with a predicted influx of migrant crossings following Thursday's expiration of Title 42.
The partnership is suspended as of Saturday.
Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly addressed the pause in a statement.
“While the situation is still evolving,” she wrote, “we acknowledge this may impact public safety in certain areas. Still, we support their crucial work at the border and welcome them back as soon as possible. We remain committed to ensuring safety in our city and appreciate the cooperation of our law enforcement partners.”
Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick struck up an agreement for DPS and APD to collaborate on enhancing safety in the community through traffic stops and response to violent crimes.
It hasn’t been without controversy, however. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Austin Justice Coalition filed Texas Public Information Act requests in April due to “lack of transparency” pertaining to DPS troopers' policing in Austin. Austin City Council didn’t even have knowledge of the agreement, per ACLU.
Further, according to Spectrum News 1 media partner the Texas Tribune, Black and Latino Austin residents have reported DPS has largely focused on their neighborhoods, making them feel targeted. The Travis County Attorney’s Office released statistics showing that 90% of arrests made in Austin were Black or Latino.