APD Chief Art Acevedo

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. 

City of Austin

The backlog in forensic DNA evidence in Austin is so serious that local judges and the Travis County district attorney called the mayor and City Council members to discuss the situation. Then they followed up with letters.

On Tuesday, the council agreed to fund three new jobs for forensic chemists. But the embarrassment prompted council member Laura Morrison to promote a new idea in dealing with the city’s forensic needs.

Joy Diaz, KUT News

Dozens of boxes full of toys made their way to Austin’s Dell Children’s Hospital this morning, courtesy of Operation Blue Santa.

Santa and his reindeer could not be there since many of the kids are too sick to risk having the animals nearby. So volunteers from the Austin Police Department made sure there was enough holiday cheer to go around.