Austin Police

Texas
11:34 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Listen: DPS Wants Lawmakers to Approve Higher Trooper Salaries

State troopers make less money than many local law enforcement officers.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Listen to audio version of this story.

Texas lawmakers will return to Austin Jan. 8 for the 2013 Legislative Session.

Officials with the Department of Public Safety hope lawmakers will approve salary increases for state troopers. A recent report by the State Auditor’s office found troopers are making less money than many police and sheriff’s officers across the state.

Trooper Robbie Barrera says she didn’t join the Department of Public Safety for the money.

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Austin
3:12 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Police Respond to Report of Gun at Barton Creek Mall; No Threat Found (Update)

File photo of a police car at Barton Creek Mall. Police say no threat has been found.

Update:  It’s worth noting Eanes ISD briefly locked down all its buildings earlier today, in relation to the call at Barton Creek. A statement on the district’s website reads:

“While law enforcement has informed us that the incident is contained to the mall and our students are in no danger, we have taken the precaution of putting the Adult Transition Services building, Cedar Creek Elementary, Hill Country Middle School and Westlake High School on lockdown.”

The top-ranked comment on a Reddit thread discussing the Barton Creek scare is from a parent at Hill Country Middle School. “They made her scared for her life, even though they were told it was totally isolated to the mall which is like a mile away at least.” (Some language may not be safe for work.)

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Austin
2:56 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Austin Police Name the Top 20 Bars for DWI Arrests; Say Cops Don't 'Bird-dog the Parking Lots'

Lt. Derek Galloway defended the APD's release of the list today.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin police have released a list of the top 20 bars its DWI arrestees had their last drinks at before getting pulled over.

Here’s the list in question. The following are the top 20 bars associated with DWI arrests, from January through the end of October:

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Austin
4:35 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

AG Says Grinch 'Steals Christmas' - But Blue Santa Saves the Day

Blue Santa volunteers Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the charity's food bank. The organization is bouncing back after a partner folded amid mysterious circumstances.
bluesanta.org

The Austin Police Department hosted its Operation Blue Santa breakfast this morning. All proceeds will benefit the department’s Blue Santa initiative, which delivers hot meals and toys to underprivileged families each holiday season.

By all accounts it was a success: Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted this afternoon that the event raised over $190,000. And Blue Santa can use all the help it can get.

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Public Safety
4:13 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

EMS, Homeless Issues and Eyewitness Testimony Before Public Safety Commission Today

The Public Safety Commission will weigh in on recent EMS findings today.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Austin's Public Safety Commission will stay busy this evening discussing a medley of public safety topics:

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Texas
10:50 am
Thu November 29, 2012

New Police and Fire Chiefs For Cedar Park

Top public safety positions are shifting in Cedar Park.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The City of Cedar Park is hosting a meet-and-greet tonight with the two finalists for Chief of Police.

Austin Police Assistant Chief Sean Mannix and Irving Police Assistant Chief Jeff Spivey are the top two out of 76 initial applicants.

According to the Hill Country News, current chief Henry Fluck gave notice in February that he would be leaving the department at the end of the year. He has served as chief since 1999.

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Police
12:01 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Travis County DA Seeks Death Penalty for Accused Cop Killer

Police officer Jaime Padron's memorial motorcade. Brandon Daniel is accused of killing Padron, and may be looking at the death penalty.
Austin Police Dept.; Motorcade photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Brandon Daniel may be facing the death penalty for allegedly killing of Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron.

The Austin American-Statesman quotes District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg as saying seeking the death penalty for Daniel “is the right thing to do.”

Daniel was charged with capital murder in April of this year for the killing of Officer Padron at an area Wal-Mart.

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Drugs
12:26 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Austin Police More Likely To Bust African-Americans For Pot (Updated)

Despite comprising roughly eight percent of Austin's population, African-Americans made up 28 percent of APD's marijuana possession cases since 2009.
flickr.com/esqenzo

Update:  The Texas Civil Rights Project wrote this letter to APD yesterday, requesting an explanation of its disproportionate pot busts within ten business days. Citing the statistics in the story below, project director Jim Harrington writes, “These facts raise serious questions, at least, as to whether APD officers are doing racial profiling or consistently exercising their discretion in favor of whites and against African Americans.”

Original Post (Nov. 10, 1:39 p.m.): Despite Austin’s progressive reputation, smoking marijuana in this city can still get you in trouble with the law. And data from the Austin Police Department shows that is more likely to happen if you are African-American. 

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Drugs
9:45 am
Fri November 9, 2012

In Austin, 1 in 4 Pot Busts Doesn’t Lead to Arrest

Austin police have the discretion to ticket - instead of arrest - people for smaller amounts of pot possession.
flickr.com/fiverweed

Voters in Colorado and Washington state elected this week to legalize marijuana for recreational use. In Texas, the drug remains very much illegal. But a state law passed five years ago has resulted in thousands of people in Travis County avoiding arrest when they’re busted with small amounts of pot.

Back in 2007, State Representative Jerry Madden (R-Plano) authored a bill to give police officers the option to cite and release someone caught with less than four ounces of marijuana. 

“The reason for that was to save costs for some of our [police] departments, so that they had more people that would be available on the streets, instead of taking the time to bring very low-level offenders in and book them,” Madden said. “They were going to be released very shortly anyway.”

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Austin
11:09 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Aggressive Panhandling Top Concern of Downtown Residents

People line up outside of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless in downtown Austin.
KUT News

Some people who live and work in downtown Austin spoke out at yesterday's Public Safety Commission meeting in support of the Austin Police Department’s so called “Public Order Initiative."

While Police Chief Art Acevedo says the zero-tolerance policy that went into effect in September is not an anti-homeless initiative… it does crack down on crime often associated with the homeless—including violations of the city’s ‘sit and lie’ ordinance.

Some have speculated that APD’s crackdown is happening because of the influx of visitors expected for Formula 1. But the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA) says it’s a long-term problem.

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Deer Season
8:16 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Watch Out: It's Deer Mating Season!

Watch out drivers: It's deer mating season, and the ornery animals’ thoughts aren’t with traffic safety.
flickr.com/TooFarNorth

The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services department is warning drivers to be on high alert for deer in the road during November and December.

These two months are what’s known as the “rut,” or deer mating season. During this time, deer can be inattentive to their surroundings and are more likely to dart out into the road and into the path of an oncoming car.

According to data released by the City of Austin and APD, there were 50 deer-involved collisions in 2011.  There have been 11 so far this year. Nationwide, research has found that approximately 200 people a year in the United States die in deer-related car accidents. Eighteen percent of all accidents involving deer occur during November. December is the third most common month for accidents involving deer.

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Austin
7:09 am
Wed October 31, 2012

A Few More Reasons Not to Drink and Drive This Halloween

Nathan Bernier

1. You're More Likely to Get Caught Tonight:

The Austin Police Department is enforcing a "No Refusal policy" beginning tonight at 9 and ending Thursday at 5 a.m.

That means police will conduct blood search warrants on drivers who are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to voluntarily submit to a breathalyzer or blood test.

2. It'll Cost You:

Police say anyone found with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and could face 3 days to 6 months in jail, a one year suspension of their driver’s license and a fine of up to $2,000 for a first offense.

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Police
1:29 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

No Charges for Driver Shot at by Police While Fleeing Sixth Street

A screen shot from an amateur video capturing the aftermath of the incident on Sixth Street.
YouTube

Austin police say no charges will be filed against a driver who police fired on on Sixth Street over the weekend.

As KUT News previously reported, shortly after 2 a.m. early Sunday morning an Austin police officer opened fire on a car that the officer said was driving straight at him after hitting two bystanders.

YNN Austin quoted police chief Art Acevedo’s description of the scene: "This person, for unknown reasons, decided to rapidly accelerate to the extent that she left acceleration skid mark on the pavement … And not only drove toward civilian victims – and struck civilian victims – but also drove toward the officer and refused to stop until shots rang out."

But this afternoon, police announced no charges would be filed against the unnamed motorist, whom they described as fleeing the scene quickly out of concern for her safety.

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Texas
10:44 am
Mon October 15, 2012

See an Emergency Vehicle? Move Over, or Get Pulled Over

Drivers who don't move over or slow down when passing emergency vehicles could face a fine.
flickr.com/webhostingreview

Law enforcement agencies across Central Texas are cracking down on drivers who ignore the state’s “move over” law.

When emergency responders are stopped on the roadway, drivers are required to move over a lane to pass or to slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. If the speed limit is below 25 mph, drivers are required to slow to 5 mph.

For the next three weeks, Austin Police Department officers and law enforcement officers from at 20 other departments say they will will target drivers who illegally pass emergency vehicles.

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Transportation
1:23 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Austin Police Give Thumbs Down to Texting While Driving

Not only is texting while driving dangerous, it may cost you $500. Police encourage drivers to wear thumb bands like this one as a reminder not to text.

With woolly traffic expected this weekend, city officials are reminding Austin drivers that texting while driving is banned under city law.

Texting while driving is a class C misdemeanor, which means offenders could face up to a $500 fine. And smart phone users should know that all "electronic messaging" is banned. That means no email, no Facebook, no ACL Festival iPhone app, and especially no Words With Friends behind the wheel.

Police Chief Art Acevedo asked drivers to be especially aware of pedestrians around Zilker Park this weekend, which, of course, is hosting the Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend. Acevedo says crashes are likely to happen when texters look up from their phones and overcorrect.

To remind drivers not to text, Acevedo sported an orange thumb band, and encouraged others to do the same. 

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