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Some say Austin PD budget cuts allowed high-risk sex offender to fly under radar
A shocking arrest made by police in Austin, Texas has led to questions about the department’s ability to operate. (TND)

WASHINGTON (TND) — A shocking arrest made by police in Austin, Texas has led to questions about the department’s ability to operate.

Ronald Christopher Martin, 47, was taken into custody after he was caught having sex with a 14-year-old boy, who has autism, on Dec. 27. Police say he met the teen on social media and traveled to another state to bring him back to Austin.

Investigators later found out that Martin went under the radar, saying he is a high-risk sex offender and failed to register in the database after previous child sex crime convictions.

Now, Austin police officer and Texas House candidate Justin Berry says the unit that monitors sex offenders is lacking resources due to cuts.

For fiscal year 2021, the city slashed $123 million from the Austin Police Department and cut 150 officer positions from its budget.

While city leaders restored that funding the very next year, Berry says they didn't give back those positions. He says that is directly impacting the sex crimes unit.

Like many other cities, Austin shattered its homicide record in 2021, recording 89 homicides compared to 59 set back in 1960.

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