How calls to ‘defund the police' took Austin to a crossroads of police reform

The 2020 protests over abusive policing nationwide led to Austin city leaders' decision to be the first major city to make major cuts in their police budget. These early and rapid "defund-the-police" measures, cutting hiring of new police and moving $150 million to other agencies, led to a political backlash that has further polarized the local debate over policing. The police budget was restored and is now at its highest ever with some residents complaining that they need better protection. Now the city is rethinking, more deliberately, where to go from here.

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