Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday said he was sending 30 additional state troopers to Austin after city officials, with the blessing of Mayor Kirk Watson, suspended its partnership over a controversial traffic stop.
The Republican governor said he had deployed 30 additional Texas Department of Public Safety troopers “to protect and serve the city of Austin.”
The latest deployment, Abbott noted, brings the number of state troopers in Austin to 130.
The governor’s announcement comes a day after the city suspended its partnership with Texas DPS. The suspension came in response to local reports that state troopers had pointed a gun at a 10-year-old boy during a traffic stop.
Mayor Watson said “recent events” had demonstrated the need to suspend the partnership, which had originally been put in place to help the city’s badly understaffed police department combat rising crime.
Texas DPS later released full body cam footage of the traffic stop that had ignited calls for suspension. The video showed that the trooper did not have his gun pointed at the 10-year-old boy as was originally reported.
Council member Mackenzie Kelly said she had handed a memo to Interim Manager Jesús Garza “urging transparency and accountability regarding the suspension of the DPS-APD partnership.”
“Our community deserves answers,” she said. “Let’s ensure decisions align with our best interests and safety.”
Texas DPS’ partnership with the APD began in March after crime increased following police budget cuts. The partnership was paused in May as Texas DPS officers attended to issues at the border, but it briefly resumed earlier this month.
Despite Watson officially declaring the partnership over, Texas DPS on Wednesday said it would continue patrols in Austin “as part of its responsibility to protect and serve Texans.”
Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said Thursday he was “disappointed” by the suspension. He credited the APD-DPS partnership with showing “a positive trend in decreasing crime, responding to calls, and keeping our community and law enforcement personnel safe.”
“While I am disappointed by the suspension of the partnership it is important that we as a community all work together to provide a City that is safe for all residents and officers,” Chacon said.