APD Chief Art Acevedo

KUT News

Part of the city of Austin’s new budget includes $3 million to equip Austin Police officers with body cameras. As for how that money will be spent, buying the body cameras themselves is just one part of the equation.

“The biggest investment in body cameras is not the camera itself,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says.

Photo by KUT News

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo may be considering a move south to San Antonio. Acevedo announced Thursday that he has been selected as one of five finalists in the running for the Chief of Police position in San Antonio.

He said in a statement released Thursday:

Ashley Park for KUT

Nationwide, drunk driving is on the decline – but you wouldn't know it living in Austin. This spring, the city has seen several high-profile deaths attributable to drunk driving.

This weekend, Kelly Noel – a well-known music fan who ran the popular ATXHispsters Twitter account – was killed by a drunk driver downtown. (The account continues to auto-tweet the latest stories from Austin news outlets, including KUT.) And in March, Rashad Owens allegedly killed and injured South by Southwest attendees when he accelerated into SXSW crowds while trying to evade police.

The morning after the SXSW killings, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said “tragedy brings opportunity. It’s an opportunity for a gut check … it's a gut check for the people involved, it’s a gut check for this community.”


Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Update: Austin Police made clear Thursday that the weapon in the hand of man who was shot this week by an APD sergeant was a pistol that fires BBs or pellets. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke about that pistol in the hours after Tuesday’s shooting.

“When the sergeant sees it, he sees the suspect put it behind his back, allegedly, and then puts it back forward. The suspect at one point yells, ‘it’s a bb gun,’ or says, ‘it’s a bb gun, it’s a bb gun.’”

Ashley Park for KUT

This post is no longer being updated. See more from KUT:

Summary: An Austin woman and a male visitor from the Netherlands are dead after a car plowed through South by Southwest crowds in Downtown Austin early this morning. The collisions took place along Red River Street near The Mohawk, a popular SXSW venue. Nearly two dozen were injured.  

Austin Police have a suspect in custody, 21 year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens. He's been charged with two counts of capital murder.

The Austin victim is 27-year-old Jamie Ranae West, according to several news reports, including one from the Austin American-Statesman.  

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Thursday morning that the incident started as a traffic stop (part of police efforts to crack down on drunk drivers) at the Shell Gas station at Ninth Street and the Interstate 35 frontage road. Chief Acevedo says the driver drove into the gas station parking lot, but then sped off and started driving the wrong way down Ninth Street.

APD pursued the driver, who then tried to strike one officer working barricade duty, and continued speeding onto Red River. Acevedo says the driver hit multiple pedestrians on the street, killing two on vehicles: an Austin female that was a passenger on a moped, and  a male visitor from the Netherlands who was killed on his bicycle. (Initial police reports said both passengers on the moped were killed.)

Chris Quintero

The controversial arrest of a jogger in Austin's West Campus neighborhood last week has made international news.

Thursday, Amanda Stephen was arrested by Austin police officers for jaywalking and a refusal to identify herself. Her arrest was caught on video. Subsequent remarks by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo – "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas" – prompted more online criticism and an apology. The story was picked up by everyone from The Huffington Post to the BBC

Chris Quintero

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for comments he made during a press conference about the arrest of a jogger for jaywalking near the UT campus. During that press conference, Acevedo said that "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."

In his apology statement Saturday, Acevedo said that "the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize." You can read the full apology here.

Original Story (Feb. 21, 4:58 p.m.): Austin Police arrested a woman jogging by the UT Campus Thursday morning for not providing identification after being stopped. The incident was caught on video by a UT student, Chris Quintero, who witnessed the woman being taken into custody. 

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred at 1:42 p.m. Saturday near Interstate 35 and Rundberg Lane.

According to Police Chief Art Acevedo, there were no injuries and the suspect is in custody.

The shooting occurred when a police officer responded to a car accident at a Shell gas station. The suspect, whose name has not yet been released, had struck another vehicle and was allegedly leaving the scene. When the officer tried to flag the suspect down, he did not stop and drove the vehicle toward the officer. The officer, whose name has also not yet been released, got out of the way. When the suspect stopped again, the officer told him to get out of the car, but he again drove the car toward the officer. That's when the officer fired several rounds at the car.

Joy Diaz/KUT News

If you live in Austin, chances are you or someone you know has been the victim of a property crime. 

That’s because Austin is one of the worst cities nationwide when it comes to property crime.

FBI numbers show Austin’s property crime rates are worse than New York, Chicago or even Los Angeles. Property crimes are so prevalent that a couple of years ago, the Austin Police Department created its very first Burglary Unit.

Every month almost 4,000 property crimes happen in Austin.


More than 500 people crammed into the cafeteria of Perez Elementary School in Dove Springs, where city officials — including Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo and Deputy City Manager Michael McDonald  — answered questions about recovery efforts.

Dove Springs residents expressed anger when City Deputy Manager Michael McDonald said Red Cross and Austin Fire began rescues early Thursday morning, with one resident shouting, "No! No one came to my house!"

But the tone of the meeting shifted visibly when Police Chief Art Acevedo took to the microphone and apologized for inconsistencies in the city's response.

Kate McGee, KUT News

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday afternoon he welcomes any investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice into the APD’s policies and tactics after last month's fatal officer-involved shooting.

Last week, Austin City Manger Marc Ott called on the Department of Justice to look at the department's practices involving deadly force.

Acevedo had been out of town when the shooting occurred after the death of his mother.


Guns were used in nearly a quarter of violent crimes and disorderly conduct cases in Austin from 2010 to 2012, according to an analysis by Austin police. 

Crimes most likely to involve the use of a gun were murders and robberies. About 40 percent of murders and 38 percent of robberies involved firearms. More than 17 percent of aggravated assault cases involved the use of guns. Firearms were used in almost three percent of the 675 rape cases reported from 2010 to 2012. 

Joy Diaz, KUT News

Last month, there were two officer-involved shootings in the Austin area. But the community reacted differently than it had in a not-so-distant past. After the shootings, there were no marches, no press conferences from civil rights organizations, and no riots. 

It’s almost like one can mark the history of the Austin Police Department in the community as “Before Art Acevedo” and “After Art Acevedo.”

Before Art Acevedo became APD chief, there was Stan Knee. His tenure was very different.

Andrew Weber for KUT News

Austin is no longer a “sleepy college town,” according to Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Austin Police and the U.S. Attorney's office say as Austin grows, so does the risk of drug trafficking. Today, they announced two big busts – one involving a year-and-a-half investigation into a cartel-connected cocaine ring and another that yielded over 20 pounds of methamphetamine.

Daniel Reese


Last year’s Memorial Day weekend saw 191 car crashes, one death and 99 injuries, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. 

This year, APD, state police, and nearby counties are collaborating to counter hazardous driving, in an effort to make holiday weekends less destructive on Central Texas roads.

Austin Feldman for KUT News

The Austin Police Department is launching the first phase of a bike safety initiative today.

As Austin’s bicycling community grows – two percent of commuters are getting to work by bike – so does the need for increased education and awareness. Especially after a record year of traffic deaths.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Police Chief says an incident this week in which police officers fatally shot a man was not a mental health call.

Chief Art Acevedo is responding to the Texas Civil Rights Project calling for the city to appoint an independent professional consultant to help police handle incidents involving people with mental illness.

Here’s how Chief Acevedo characterizes this week’s incident, in which a man was shot after pointing a shotgun at APD officers.

“It was not a mental health call," Acevedo said. "It was a public safety threat call, where the, the absolute safety of our residents was at risk. The Austin Police Department received information that the decedent in that case was suicidal and homicidal and threatening to hurt others.”

The Texas Civil Rights Project is calling for more involvement from the Austin Police Monitor’s Office in assessing calls involving use of force.


The Austin police chief says he’s disappointed by the U.S. Senate’s failure to approve a new gun control measure. The legislation would have required federal background checks for all gun purchases, including those at gun shows and online.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo sees the votes against Senate passage as defying what most citizens support.

Steve Rhode/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/steverhode/

The Austin Police Chief is ordering  officers to stop getting warrantless blood draws from drunk driving suspects. The policy change comes after a ruling Wednesday from the U.S. Supreme Court that police in most cases must try to obtain a search warrant from a judge before ordering blood tests.

Texas Law allows a warrantless blood draws in certain cases, but Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is calling on his officers to stop doing that, at least for the time being.

Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Some Austin Police Department patrol cars are starting to use a new vehicle-locating system today called StarChase.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says the units will only be used during suspect vehicle pursuits. The device, he says, will allow police officers to track suspects without engaging in high-speed chases and will hopefully avoid accidents and fatalities.