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Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Defunding the Police Is Dangerous and Foolish

I nominate Police Chief Brian Manley of Austin, Texas, for law enforcement officer of the year.

Police officers swear an oath to serve and protect the people of their community. It is a high calling that, lately, has been characterized by increasingly high risk and diminishing reward as Democrat-led cities across the country dance to the faint tune of their puppet masters on the radical left, slashing essential funds from police departments that go in harm’s way every day. In Austin, no one would likely blame Chief Manley for turning in his badge and seeking employment elsewhere, but, instead, he is standing in the gap for the community he has sworn to serve.

After the Austin City Council gutted the police budget to the tune of some $150 million dollars and canceled the next three cadet classes, Manley responded with a restructuring proposal that sent a clear message from an individual who not only understands public safety, but is willing to fight for the people he protects. As the Austin city council dreams of a socialist utopia where the biggest threat is exhaustion from tiptoeing through the tulips hand-in-hand with the “previously misunderstood” (aka “criminals”), Manley is making plans based on the reality of human nature, and the timeless need for guardians to protect the innocent.

Chief Manley, a veteran with decades of experience in “community policing” based on personal relationships between patrol officers and the neighborhoods they protect, understands that the most important member of the force is a beat cop. So, in his latest response to the social engineering happening in city hall, he called for the ranks of beat cops to be replenished with officers who have been sitting behind desks, running a special DWI interdiction unit or providing executive protection for the very mayor who has been calling for them to be defunded. (It would be appropriate for the reader to make the “chef’s kiss” gesture at this moment…) He also recommends pulling officers from a special task force that tracks gang members to fill the necessary patrols.

Without Manley’s moves, the impact of City Council’s reckless cuts would be felt for years in the form of depleted patrol officer ranks, further distancing police officers from the communities they serve. Manley knows that’s unacceptable, so he has done what any good guardian of the public trust would do and called for putting experienced bodies back on the street.

There is no doubt that there is some political theater being played out in Austin, but it’s clear that one character, Manley, has the best interests of the community in mind. His Democrat antagonists, Mayor Adler and the braying chorus of the City Council, are motivated only by the desire to win headlines and the approval of America’s socialist left, consequences be damned. Unfortunately, there are lives at stake in this drama. Thank goodness the hero of the narrative in our state’s capitol city is siding with the people he is sworn to protect.

I actually pity the people who live in Austin full time (as a citizen legislator, I get to live at home and run my business when the Legislature is not in session) and other Democrat-led cities like Portland, Chicago and Seattle, because they’re being used as bit characters in a show that’s no longer about them. Instead, they’re consigned to watch helplessly as their cities’ crime rates increase and the attractiveness of once-great towns is buried beneath litter from the burgeoning homeless communities and the damage left behind by rioters.

Before it’s too late, I hope those citizens will stand up, speak up and be heard on the topic of well-funded police forces and the non-negotiable importance of public safety. They would do well by holding up the example of Chief Manley and make it clear to their leftwing city leaders that public safety matters far more than their egos or national reputations.

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