AUSTIN, Texas — The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Austin Justice Coalition filed Texas Public Information Act requests Tuesday in response to the lack of transparency surrounding Texas Department of Public Safety troopers' involvement in Austin policing.
The public information requests are being sent to the City of Austin and the Texas DPS to gain clarity and gather information about how this partnership came to be, how it will work, and what impact it will have on Austinites. This agreement was made without city council knowledge or public input.
The following quote can be attributed to Savannah Kumar, attorney at the ACLU of Texas:
“The state’s police force has no place patrolling the streets of Austin, monitoring our communities, and criminalizing our neighbors. From the Department of Public Safety’s deadly mismanagement during the Uvalde school shooting to their anti-immigrant role in Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, the agency has demonstrated a lack of accountability, transparency, and concern for local communities. We have reason to worry that troopers patrolling Austin's streets will lead to increased stops and citations for minor traffic violations, creating unnecessary contacts with law enforcement for people across Austin, and especially for people of color.
The announcement, emblematic of the agency as a whole, lacked the details and transparent process necessary for community members to hold the police accountable. We call on the Austin City Council to intervene and end this alarming so-called partnership between APD and the Texas DPS.”