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Gov. Abbott considering establishing state-controlled ‘safe zone’ for Texas Capitol and UT Austin

DPS troopers guard Texas Capitol grounds Jan. 20,2021/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – As Gov. Greg Abbott continues to lock horns with the City of Austin over police funding, he’s considering the creation of a safe zone controlled by the state in downtown Austin, which would include the Capitol and the University of Texas.  While offering no details at a news conference last week, Abbott reiterated his desire to establish the safe zone.

“There is so much about Austin, which is the front door for the State of Texas, whether it be the Capitol or the University of Texas,”Abbott said. “We have people who are coming from across the state, across the country, sometimes across the globe into this community.”

The governor says people need to feel safe in those areas.

“They shouldn’t be ambushed by crime that’s taking place in certain areas where people, quite literally, have been ambushed,” said Abbott.

He has previously stated that the state would be in charge of policing in the safe zone, but he’s not ready to say exactly how it would be structured.

“We’re working on strategies that we will announce later about proposals to make sure that we are able to ensure the safety of people who operate within the Capitol region and the University of Texas Region,” he said.

The Austin City Council voted in August to take $150 million from its police department, roughly about 1/3 of the police budget, and reallocate the money to programs,  such as violence prevention and housing services.

 

 


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