Texas Family Criticizes Austin Police Department for Slow Response
The Austin Police Department is facing criticism after a Texas family had to wait over two hours for help following a suspected DUI crash.
Lacey and Dustin Purciful were driving with their two young children when their vehicle was hit head-on by a drunk driver. They called 911 several times, but it took the police over two hours to respond. The driver, who smelled of alcohol and admitted to coming from a bar, walked away with only a minor traffic violation.
According to New York Post, the man had sufficiently sobered when the police arrived and were unable to press charges, according to Loewy. Without criminal charges against the driver who hit them, Purciful’s only alternative is to sue the driver personally and possibly the restaurant that over-served him.
The Purcifuls and their attorney are placing the blame on the Austin City Council, which they say has slashed the Austin police department’s budget and ability to do its job. The attorney, Adam Loewy, said that the city council has been at “war” with the police force over funding and their contract, and attempted to defund the police department by $100 million in 2020. He added that the police force is doing the best it can, but there simply aren’t enough officers.
Austin Police Department Works Hard to Address the Issue
According to Fox News, the Austin Police Department confirmed that they received the 911 call at 4:18 p.m. and until 6:11 p.m., the first police unit was not assigned due to the sector and surrounding sectors being busy assisting with other emergency calls. At approximately 6:35 p.m., the first officer arrived at the scene.
The Purcifuls and their attorney are calling for more funding for the police department and for the city council to stop its “war” with the police force. Lacey said that her children are traumatized from the incident, and it’s terrifying that the driver walked away with only a minor traffic violation and is still on the road.
The Austin Police Department stated that they are working on resourceful ways to handle the issue, including a heightened and targeted recruitment campaign to fill vacancies. However, it remains to be seen if these efforts will be enough to address the shortage of officers and ensure that help is readily available in emergency situations.