Austin, Texas anti-cop policies lead to hours-long waits for 911 calls
Story by MaryAnn Martinez
Police in Austin, Texas, allegedly took over two hours to respond to a head-on collision caused by a suspected drunk driver — because the city’s hyper-liberal policies have left the department understaffed by hundreds of officers, according to a lawyer representing the crash victim.
The wreck happened in a part of the city which should have been patrolled by 25 officers.
Instead, only five cops were working when a suspected drunk driver crossed into on-coming traffic and slammed into Lacey Purciful and her family’s pick up truck three days ago, according to the legal eagle.
“The guy in the other car admitted to drinking, he reeked of alcohol,” Attorney Adam Loewy told The Post Tuesday.
“He had trouble standing and so they called the police.”
I wonder if this is the Austin drunk driver who hit this woman and police hadn’t showed up for two hours.
Mayor @KirkPWatson and Council are to blame for their repeated failure of not placing City and @ATXPOA agreed 4 year contract with the most progressive and only legally… https://t.co/LrykqDBMof pic.twitter.com/twpYz3zDb1
— cleo – Austin Latina Mom & MODERATE Democrat (@Cleo_Petricek) March 20, 2023
Saying her children were injured and scared, Purciful launched into a social media tirade.
“This is the drunk man who hit me — two hours ago,” the frustrated mother of two claimed in the video.
“This man has now had two hours to sit here and sober up because the City of Austin has not come.”
Police in Austin, Texas allegedly took over 2 hours to respond to an automobile accident caused by a suspected drunk driver.ladybug3660/TikTok
By the time police arrived, the man had sufficiently sobered and police were unable to press charges, according to Loewy.
“The reason the police did not show up for two and half hours is that when Austin defunded the police, there has been a huge drop in the number of police officers who are on the force,” the personal injury lawyer explained.
“The estimates are 300-400 less police officers than we need, and so this is manifesting itself in situations like this.
The lawyer representing the crash victim blames the police department for being understaffed for taking a long time to respond to the incident.ladybug3660/TikTok
Without criminal charges against the driver, Purciful’s only recourse is to sue the driver personally and possibly the restaurant that over-served him.
“For the past three years and counting, this is a very normal story,” Loewy stated.
“I’ve had cases where people get into accidents and police don’t show up for hours. It’s not an attack on the men and women of the [police] department, because they all do the best they can — there’s just not enough of them.”
Lacey Purciful’s lawyer explained her only recourse is to sue the driver.ladybug3660/TikTok
The Austin Police Department referred The Post to the city, who did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The police department is so understaffed, 911 calls are being redirected to the 311 non-emergency number in certain cases — including for crimes like home burglaries, according to sources.
Delays getting through to emergency numbers have been chronicled by a local paper who released a guide for when and when not to dial 911.
The Austin Police Department is so understaffed, 911 calls are being redirected to the 311 non-emergency number in certain cases.ladybug3660/TikTok
In a recent night of chaos, there weren’t enough officers to respond to street vandals who took over city streets and shut down intersections — attacking one officer and breaking windows in cop cars.
Loewy blames woke city leaders who defunded cops — slashing the police budget by a third and cutting academy numbers in 2020, which has led to a standoff between the city and the force.
“The city council has been in a war with the police department really for five years, but it exploded in summer of 2020,” he recounted.
“They’re so antagonistic to police here that over 100 police officers have retired in the past six months. They’re having trouble getting new officers to enter the academy. It’s 100% on city council.”
Mayor Kirk Watson — who was not in office when many anti-police policies were adopted and took over in January — previously told The Post the city is prioritizing filling open vacancies.
“We directed the City Manager to develop a plan to give officers a pay raise and address the current shortage of police officers by offering retention and recruitment incentives, as well as a financial incentive for the Austin Police Association to resume contract talks with the City,” the mayor told The Post earlier this month.
With a cash olive branch extended, the mayor added, “We want them to stay.”
But as the city tries to stop the bleeding, Loewy believes it’s too late.
“The damage is already done,” he said.
“This is what happens when you take on a police department and you don’t support them.”