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(Dan Patrick/Twitter)

The Texas Municipal Police Association launched a billboard campaign Wednesday in response to what the union called Austin City Council's "disastrous decision" to cut some police funding.


Two billboards now appear on I-35, just north and south of the city, warning drivers to "enter at your own risk."

After months of protests against police violence and calls from residents to remove the police chief, Austin City Council voted last month to immediately cut approximately $20 million—or about 5%—of the Austin Police Department budget. They also put an additional $130 million into two transitional funds that will allow several of APD's traditional duties to continue while officials work out which responsibilities to move out from under police oversight.

The TMPA—which represents more than 30,000 local, county and state law enforcement officers across the state—wrote in a Facebook post that the decision to cut funding was a "reckless act, a political stunt by the city council pandering to the radical left" and that it "will do nothing but endanger the people of Austin."

State GOP leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, tweeted in support of the billboard campaign on Wednesday.

Last year, Austin spent more per resident on the police than any of the four largest cities in Texas, according to the Texas Tribune. Between 2008 and 2018, its violent crime rate fell 25%. This year, through July, there were 29 homicides, compared with 19 during the same period last year.

Abbott tweeted last week that he was considering a legislative proposal that, if passed, would put APD under state control.

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