Austin mayor falls asleep during police officer's memorial service

The relationship between rank and file police officers in Austin and city hall is not good. Mayor Steve Adler is a supporter of defunding the police and the city is feeling the effects of his attitude. Crime is up and police recruitment is down. Adler didn’t help himself in the eyes of the Austin Police Department when he was caught sleeping during the memorial service of police officer Tony Martin.

Adler is now apologizing for falling asleep. The memorial service at Hill Country Bible Church began at 11:00 a.m. and lasted about an hour. Noticeably missing in Adler’s apology is a confession that he fell asleep. He doesn’t fess up to what it is that he did wrong. It’s kind of hard to take such an apology seriously. It just sounds like he’s sorry he got caught.

“I want to express my deepest apologies to the family of Officer Martin,” Adler said in a written statement to the American-Statesman. “Officer Martin died 10 days ago and will forever be honored as a hero. This moment should be about him and his family, including his two daughters whose words today pierced my heart as a father. I hold Officer Martin in the highest regard. May his memory be a blessing to his family, and to the city he served.”

Adler did call for a moment of silence to honor Martin at a recent Austin City Council meeting.

Sure, people sometimes fall asleep at awkward times. In this case, though, the mayor looks like he wasn’t particularly interested in what was happening around him. 

This is not the first time that Adler has experienced an uncomfortable moment with a police officer’s family. One officer’s widow asked him not to come to her husband’s funeral. In July 2021, Officer Andy Traylor died of injuries he suffered in a car crash. The only city council member to attend was Mackenzie Kelly, who regularly sponsors initiatives to support the Austin Police Department.

Officer Tony Martin was on his way home after working the night shift on the morning of September 23. He and his police motorcycle were in a crash, which resulted in his death. He began his career with the Austin Police Department in 2006 after a 20 year career in the U.S. Air Force. He became an officer the following year.

The police association president, Thomas Villarreal, said he reached out to Adler.

“Today’s memorial was a time to honor and pay respect to Officer Tony Martin and his family,” he said. “Unfortunately, the mayor’s actions distract from those underlying reasons for the memorial service. I have expressed my frustration directly to Steve and will deal with that issue at a later time. For now, I ask everyone to please keep Tony’s family in your prayers.”

The defund the police movement has been disastrous for cities, including Austin. Austin’s city council delivers the same bone-headed votes to defund the police and hamper police recruitment as other Democrat-led cities do.

The incident could add to tensions between Adler and Austin police officers, whose department lost $21 million in a budget decision authorized by Adler and the Austin City Council in 2020. The funding was later restored. The department has hovered around 200 officer vacancies due in part to the council at the time canceling three scheduled cadet training classes.

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