Austin City Councilmember Pio Renteria called for the Austin Police Association to be shut down or reformed, believing the local police officer’s union is part of the city’s list of problems.
As the City Council was deciding on new reforms for the police department, Councilmember Renteria said the city’s big problem is the police union. He explained, “We need to really reform our police union.” He said, when the city does find a bad cop and fire them, those same officers get their jobs back, with pay, and their record expunged.
But then Councilmember Renteria went even further, “I hate to say this…but we really need to get rid of this union and I sure hope we start working on finding a way to dismantle the union, and then do our hiring back the right way. The way we need to do it, so the city can be safe.”
APA’s President Ken Casaday replied to Renteria’s claim during the Council session, “the union does not control hiring. Chief Manley controls 100% of the hiring process, so we are not blocking good people from being hired.”
On the flip side, Councilmember Renteria’s call to action was met with approval by some protestors and activists, like Austin Public Safety Commissioner Chris Harris who said to council, “I’m inspired by calls today to dismantle this police union, which has been a constant source of fear and lies in this community and an impediment in justice in the Black Lives Matter movement.” He also thanked city leaders who have returned political contributions made to them by the APA.