Austin
3:52 pm
Mon December 13, 2010

Alleged DWI Cop's Wrecked Cruiser On Display At SWAT Headquarters

Austin police chief Art Acevedo is sending a message to members of the department's SWAT team: Don't get drunk and wreck a police cruiser like your colleague Michael Hamilton is alleged to have done.

Acevedo ordered the vehicle be towed from a city fleet facility to the SWAT team's headquarters on Fourth Street near Chicon in East Austin, the Statesman reported this morning.

KUT News drove down to snap a picture of the smashed Ford Crown Victoria. APD refused to open the gate to any members of the media, but you can see the car from the street.

APD spokesperson Helena Putnam told KUT News that to her knowledge, an Austin police chief had never before ordered a vehicle wrecked by an officer charged with DWI to be displayed to his colleagues.

But the act is consistent with Acevedo's willingness to admonish police officers who violate the department protocol. Acevedo has already suggested that he will fire Hamilton if he is found guilty of driving while under the influence.

In case you're unfamiliar with the story, Hamilton allegedly rolled his vehicle earlier this month on the 4700 block of Convict Hill Road. In an unrelated incident, Hamilton was suspended from the force for one day in September for crashing his vehicle into a fence post.

The Statesman report from this morning revealed some changes that have been implemented in the APD's elite tactical unit.  For example, SWAT members used to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. That policy is being ended, effective immediately.