Understaffed Austin PD Telling Public To Collect Evidence Themselves

Like most people who experience a criminal act, quickly call the police. Kirk Andrews owns Petticoat Fair Lingerie in Austin, and his store was recently robbed. However, law enforcement from the Austin Police Department told him that he should put on gloves and gather evidence, including bullet casings.

Austin police struggling to respond to all calls

According to him, police would not help because of COVID restrictions. Andrews said 911 told him to call 311, which is the non-emergency line. Andrews caught on camera a white car driving up to the store and shooting out the window. The suspect then grabbed a bunch of clothes around 6 AM, when nobody was around.

This store has been robbed multiple times, and police have told him they don’t have the manpower to investigate shoplifters. Andrews said that before, police had taken several weeks to call him back and file a report. Austin police finally stopped sending officers to a handful of calls where no actual danger is involved, allowing them to respond to more serious calls and emergencies. In some cases, civilian officers could respond to non-emergency situations. However, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon has said that civilian officers like crime techs receive training on collecting evidence and submitting all of that.

Community looking to restore the police staffing

The police shortage comes from the city’s efforts to strip funding from the department, which has led to an increase in crime. Austin residents will vote on a proposition to restore police staffing that was reduced because of the defunding.

The Advocacy Group Save Austin Now, which is defending the proposition, has said that police morale has fallen and lost 300 police officers.