COVID-19 aid cash is going to Texas police officers and prisons


Illustration of a police officer standing on the highest pile of coins in a row.
Representation: Maura Losch/Axios

A number of Central Texas towns are amongst native governments national the use of federal COVID aid bucks to shore up their police departments and different regulation enforcement efforts.

Catch up fast: In the course of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), President Joe Biden gave U.S. towns and counties $350 billion to get well from the pandemic.

  • Few boundaries had been placed on how native governments may spend ARPA price range.

The large image: The Marshall Mission discovered that native governments have allotted round $52.6 billion for income alternative, a imprecise catch-all class, and just about part of that went to initiatives that discussed police, regulation enforcement, courts, jails and prisons.

  • Lower than 10% went to public well being.

Zoom in: Texas directed tens of thousands and thousands of bucks in federal COVID-19 aid cash towards regulation enforcement — a shift from preliminary pledges to handle affordability of well being care within the wake of the pandemic.

  • Around the state, thousands and thousands had been earmarked for prison renovations, updates to police constructions and income alternative to hide staffing.
  • In Bastrop County, just about $74,000 went towards public protection services and products, together with the salaries of police and hearth officers. The county extensively utilized price range to pay for speedy take a look at kits and vaccine clinics.
  • Town of San Marcos asked $135,000 for a “FARO gadget,” which permits police to file crimes and crashes in 3-d.
  • Bedford submitted a report back to the Treasury Division to make use of greater than $800,000 to improve its regulation enforcement heart with advanced safe garage for ballistic vests, patrol rifles and charging stations for body-worn cameras.
  • In Harris County, commissioners licensed $25 million in ARPA price range to switch incarcerated folks 8 hours away to a personal jail.

What they are announcing: On the nationwide degree, Biden is embracing the regulation enforcement spending as proof that Democrats do not reinforce defunding the police.

Sure, however: A large number of aid price range are going towards non-policing efforts in the community.

  • Williamson County is ready to get just about $10.9 million to pay for psychological well being services and products, together with investment for households with out insurance coverage to assist pay for his or her youngsters’s psychiatric care and development of a 24-bed psychiatric wing for formative years in disaster and short of psychological well being remedy.
  • Austin used thousands and thousands to reinforce native arts organizations and no less than $10 million for housing initiatives and staff services and products to assist folks experiencing homelessness.

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