Cedar Park leaders say the city won’t defund the police

Williamson County

CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Leaders in Cedar Park say they plan to fully fund the city’s police department in the upcoming fiscal year, despite calls to defund the police in other cities.

In a conversation during Sunday’s hostage situation in Cedar Park, Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale told KXAN it’s important to support police.

After the standoff ended Monday, Cedar Park City Council Member Mike Guevara told KXAN, “That’s the example of why we need law enforcement in our city. You know, those officers stepped in, put their lives on the line.”

A number of other agencies responded to assist Cedar Park officers with the standoff, including DPS, Texas Rangers, the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team, Round Rock Police, Leander Police, Pflugerville Police, along with local EMS and fire units.

Both Van Arsdale and Guevara told KXAN the Cedar Park City Council plans to unanimously add about a half a million dollars to the city’s police budget in the upcoming fiscal year.

“With the hundreds of emails we’ve received on the different issues, I think maybe one was in support of defunding the police,” Guevara said.

However, he says constituents are reaching out with concerns about the section of Cedar Park patrolled by Austin Police after Austin council members voted to reduce APD’s budget by $150 million.

“With that whole Lakeline Mall area, we don’t even know a lot of times where that line ends between Cedar Park and Austin, and they’re wondering how that’s going to spill over,” Guevara said.

Van Arsdale says there are some budget uncertainties as sales tax revenue is down due to the pandemic, however that won’t affect council members increasing the police budget.

“We’re going to add money to the police budget, the only question is how much and what positions,” Van Arsdale said, telling KXAN one or two police positions may be added.

A portion of the police budget in Cedar Park and several other surrounding cities also goes into funding the Central Texas Regional SWAT Team, which was deployed in Sunday’s hostage situation. Van Arsdale says there are no plans among the cities involved to cut funding to that, either.

Van Arsdale says small, suburban cities like Cedar Park differ from large metros like Austin that may have programs and positions to cut.

“We don’t have that kind of money. We don’t have that extensive of programs,” the mayor said. “We also have a different constituency, so our residents feel very much like putting more priority with the police.”

Cedar Park’s current police budget is $16,773,431. The proposed new budget for police is $17,287,303.

CPPD has 99 authorized officer positions. In comparison, the city of Austin currently has more than 1,900. Once APD’s budget cuts take effect, the department will have just over 1,800 authorized officer positions.

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