'This is Our Home': Rep. Roy Calls Out Local Officials for Making Austin Unsafe by Defunding Police

On Tuesday, I took part in a press conference organized by Save Austin Now kicking off the nonprofit organization’s new education effort regarding public safety and policing. During my remarks, I criticized Austin officials for hamstringing local police and endangering Texans while vowing to stand with and support law enforcement.

Full footage of the press conference is available here. Footage of my remarks is available here and a transcript of them is below:

Well, it's an honor to be here to be here with so many of my great friends: people that I have worked with in the past, work with today, and work with currently, people that are representing law enforcement, former law enforcement. My grandfather is a chief of police of a small town in West Texas, Sweetwater. My great-great grandfather was a Texas Ranger. I was proud to serve in the Attorney General's office. We got representatives from the Attorney General's office here today.

Law enforcement is critical to the functioning of a free society. Its function to the rule of law and being able to make sure we can live in a community where we feel like we can walk around and engage and engage in commerce and have a sense of community. You know my dad actually proposed to my mom literally a block right up here in 1967.

This is our home; this is our community. And that's what is at stake here. It gets lost in all the numbers, all the statistics, and all of the chest pounding by a lot of politicians. What this is, is this is where we live. We shouldn't lose sight of that.  Mayor Adler likes to talk about “reimagining.” Reimagining is just another word for having dangerous streets in Austin in the name of wokeness. But that's what we have.

Just two years ago in 2019 I think we had 14 homicides by June, today we've had 31. We are going to have a ten percent reduction of our senior law enforcement personnel, and we don't have cadets right in line to take get in place. We numbers of 1999 levels of policing when we have now been one of the most explosively growing cities in America with a population that requires the kind of policing to keep our community safe.

I used to live in downtown Austin when I was in law school right off of South Congress Avenue; I didn't worry about my safety. I would go around Austin; I'm not going to say what I was exactly doing. Statutes of limitations may have run, but that was 20 years ago. But I had a great time in Austin, Texas.

There is a reason that people flock to Austin. That's because it's a great place filled of great people. But we are allowing this place to become unsafe. And when we hear the city council talk about planting flowers or adding another bike lane, while its unsafe to walk around downtown Austin, you wonder why people are going to leave the city in droves. You are going to understand why so many people are going to move out and move into Hayes county or Williamson county. But we don't want that. This is the capitol city of the greatest state of the greatest country in the world. It ought to reflect that.

So, I am proud to stand here with so many of these great friends — to stand up in defense of our law enforcement community, to stand up in the defense of safe streets, and to make sure that we now take second step. The people of Austin have spoken on a strong bipartisan basis that we need to make sure that we don't have homeless encampments in our streets it’s neither good for the people of Austin or the homeless that it is alleged to help. It's not. Places like Community First, places that exist to be able to help people, lift them up. Rather than having people in the squalor of places that are lit on fire and have drugs in the streets, let's have a place to help those who need help and have a safe city. We need to now to take the next step and make sure that we got the law enforcement available to make sure that we keep our community safe and make sure that the law enforcement know that we have their back, that we are going to stand with law enforcement.

I will just close with this. I got asked to write a letter for a little girl who's dad in the police department. I won't say her name so that I don't draw any focus on her. Because she came home and upset for her school project. She was upset because her dad came home talking about the things that were being said about him and the police force. So, I wrote her a letter talking to her how we are proud of her dad we are proud of the law enforcement community and what they mean for us and our safety and security. And we are going to make that unequivocally clear as we fight for the next phase for this effort to keep Austin safe.


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