Austin Police

The Lead
10:09 am
Wed September 26, 2012

The Lead: Officer-Involved Shooting, ERCOT's Summer Evaluation, F1 Track Race Ready

The State of Texas executed Cleve Foster, 48, last night. He was put to death for the sexual assault and shooting death of Nyaneur "Mary" Pal in Fort Worth in 2002.

Here’s what KUT News has been working on this morning:

Here’s a roundup other Austin and Texas stories from around the web:

  • Austin's First 'Kids Only' Yoga Studio (KEYE)

KEYE reports that The Little Yoga House is Austin's first "kids only" yoga studio. Creators say it teaches kids not only about the importance of a healthy lifestyle but also about dealing with stress in a healthy way.

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police
4:37 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Now Austin Cops Can't Search Your Car Unless a Supervisor OKs It

Changes to vehicle search procedure and more were announced by Austin Police today.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin police officers will be required to get permission from a supervisor before searching a vehicle with the owners’ consent. That’s one of several APD policy changes announced today by police chief Art Acevedo. Officers will also have to get the driver to sign a form saying they voluntarily consent to the search.

Acevedo made the announcement while standing alongside local civil rights leaders Nelson Linder with the NAACP and Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Right’s Project.

“It was historically an issue for years,” Harrington said in a phone interview.  “Police on the East Side would stop people and search them and claim it was by consent. I think we’ve seen considerable progress in limiting consent searches to where there really is consent and now of course there has to be supervisor approval.”

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Public Safety
5:08 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Listen to the Public Safety Message That Freaked Out Some Austinites

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A recent reverse 911 call that went out to Austin-area residents worked, according to police. But judging from a statement the authorities released regarding the message, it may have frayed some nerves in the process.

Over the weekend, the Austin Police Department utilized the Emergency Notification System (ENS) to develop leads related to a missing persons case. Functioning like a reverse 911 call, the ENS system is utilized by several Central Texas counties to relay information over the phone in case of emergency.

“The activation worked as intended. We received at least two calls from citizens who listened to the ENS announcement,” Austin Police write in a statement relased this afternoon. “They provided helpful information to help locate the missing elderly woman.”

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Public Safety
3:36 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

What Do Dog Bites, Wildfires, and 12th & Chicon Have in Common?

Fire resources, neighborhood patrols, and dog bites will be discussed at the Public Safety Commission.
KUT News

City of Austin officials will address all these titular topics and more at a jam-packed meeting of the Public Safety Commission this afternoon, the group that makes safety-related recommendations to the City Council.

Following a 15-minute allotment for public comment, the members of the commission will hear from speakers on several topics. Speakers and their topics include:

  • Austin Fire Department Chief of Staff Harry Evans and Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks, on wildfire risk.
  • Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Patrick Ockletree, on neighborhood enforcement issues in the 12th and Chicon area.
  • APD Assistant Chief Rail Munguia, on neighborhood enforcement issues in the downtown area.
  • A representative from APD, on Travis County Animal Services' report on "dog bites in relation to public safety."

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Austin
4:55 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Did APD Go Too Far in Occupy Austin Operation?

The Occupy Austin encampment at City Hall last year. New revelations of APD undercover involvement have emerged in one Occupier's trial.
KUT News

Amidst the tarps, sleeping bags, and food wrappers at City Hall during the Occupy Austin protests last fall, three people were not who they appeared to be.  Not occupiers, but infiltrators.

Known as "Butch," "Dirk," and "Rick," all three were undercover officers with the Austin Police Department.

Occupiers say that "Butch," aka APD detective Shannon Dowell, went beyond infiltration and actively encouraged members of the movement to create and deploy a homemade device called a "lockbox."  The device enables protestors to anchor themselves to each other, or an object, in a way that is almost police-proof.  Several protestors used the devices in a protest at the Houston port, and were arrested on felony obstruction charges.

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AM Update: 8/31/12
8:59 am
Fri August 31, 2012

AM Update: Longhorn Network's Austin Debut, MoPac Enviro Study Complete, Roddick Retires

After a long wait, the Longhorn Network debuted this morning on an Austin TV provider.
Mark Dewey for KUT News

Good morning and happy Friday. It may be a long weekend for many as Labor Day approaches.

It's Official: Longhorn Network on AT&T U-verse

University of Texas at Austin Women's Athletic Director Chris Plonsky confirms this morning that the Longhorn Network is now available for AT&T U-verse customers.

The Twittersphere is buzzing with the news that the LHN is now available on AT&T U-verse channel 1609.

In a report KUT News aired this morning, David Preschlack, ESPN’s head of affiliate relations said: “We’re doing everything that we can to get full distribution of the network. There’s nothing more important that I’m working on personally. And to me this is not an if, it’s a when, and we’re hopeful that we get there just as quickly as possible.”

That “when” finally sounds like "now" for local Longhorn fans.

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AM Update: 8/23/12
8:40 am
Thu August 23, 2012

AM Update: APD Wants New Copter, Removing Downtown Benches, KUT Signal Vote

APD wants to a new helicopter like the one pictured, in part, so they can better respond to emergencies like grass fires.
Eurocopter

Austin Police Want New Helicopter, More Staff

The council is set to discuss purchasing a new helicopter for the Austin Police Department today.

The department says its current fleet is old and in need of maintenance and that a new helicopter would enable officers to more quickly respond to some emergencies.

APD also wants council to approve a bigger budget for the department so it can hire more staff.

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AM Update: 8/17/12
8:32 am
Fri August 17, 2012

AM Update: West Nile Death in Williamson Co., Water Restriction Changes, Funeral for Slain Constable

West Nile Death in Williamson County

West Nile virus is being blamed for the death of a Williamson County woman. It’s the county’s first West Nile virus related death of the year. One person in Travis County died late last month.

Both patients were over 60 years-old; the woman in Williamson County was over 90. A total of six people in that county have been infected with West Nile virus. At least 16 people in Travis County have contracted the disease.

So far this season, Texas has seen the worst of the West Nile virus outbreak. Ten people have died from the disease in Dallas County. Eleven cities in Dallas County have agreed to fight the mosquitos via aerial spraying. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a state of emergency.

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Austin
1:07 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Run/Walk Event in Honor of Fallen APD Officer

Officer Jaime Padron was killed in a shooting in April at an area Wal-Mart.
Austin Police Department

This year’s “Run with the Heroes 5K Run/Walk” to benefit Special Olympics of Texas will be held in honor of Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron.

Padron was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call at an Austin Wal-Mart earlier this year.

The 5th annual run/walk is scheduled for September 16.

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Crime
12:27 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Suspicious Death Near Hike & Bike Trail

View Suspicious Death in a larger map

One eastbound lane of W. Cesar Chavez Street  is shut down and part of the Hike and Bike Trail is closed as Austin Police investigate a suspicious death.

APD says a bicyclist called police just after 8 a.m. when he found a man lying near the trail. The man was dead in a sleeping bag with obvious trauma. Officers say he appears to have been homeless.

Senior Police Officer Veneza Bremner says it’s unclear how long the man was there but says the location is noteworthy because it’s very public area.

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Police
12:41 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Officer-Involved Shootings Prompt Consideration of APD 'Preservation of Life' Standard

Austin Police say their policy already includes a "preservation of life" standard.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin’s Human Rights Commission could take action tonight on recommending a “preservation of life” standard in the Austin Police Department’s Response to Resistance Policy.

The ACLU has been pushing for the police department to include language in their policy that would basically say deadly force should be used as a last resort.

Human Rights Commissioner Elizabeth Brenner says the commission talked about adding the language back in 2010 but that the issue is front and center again because of recent, deadly officer-involved shootings.

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Police
10:07 am
Mon July 23, 2012

13 Dead in South Texas Pickup Truck Crash

A truck carrying 23 passengers crashed in South Texas Sunday night, killing 13.
Courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety

Thirteen people are reported dead and 10 others injured, after a pickup truck carrying 23 passengers crashed into a tree in South Texas Sunday evening.

“This is the most people I've seen in any passenger vehicle, and I've been an officer for 38 years,” Gerald Bryant, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press.

Officials believe the passengers may be illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol Agents were called in to assist with the investigation. “It's unknown whether or not (the victims) were illegal, but it's possible,” Bryant told the AP.

Austin police have noted the popularity of similar trucks in the transport of undocumented immigrants before.

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Police
3:39 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Austin’s 10 Most Serious Police Incidents in 2011

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Office of the Austin Police Monitor 2011 annual report is filled with sobering statistics.  

Minorities, particularly blacks and Hispanics, are more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than whites, the report found. Traffic stops resulted in a search one out of eight times for black drivers and one out of ten times for Hispanics, but only one out of 28 times for white Austinites. The report also shows that there was an increase in formal complaints against police, from 316 cases in 2010 to 344 in 2011. 

But separate from the statistics is the OPM's Serious Incident Review, highlighting "the more serious cases" the office addressed in 2011. While ethnicity and incident location are omitted in these write-ups, they include a detailed sequence of events, as well as the cases’ outcomes.

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AM Update 7/13/12
7:38 am
Fri July 13, 2012

AM Update: Voter ID Trial Wraps Up, New APD Officers, Perry to Support Romney in Nevada

Gov. Rick Perry will travel to Nevada tonight in support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Ben Philpott for KUT News

Voter ID Trial Continues

Closing arguments are set to begin today in the Texas Voter ID trial in Washington, D.C.

The law would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls.

A three-judge panel will decide whether the Texas law violates the Voting Rights Act by making it harder for minorities to cast a ballot. The U.S. Department of Justice argues that it does.

But lawyers for the state say the law wouldn’t disenfranchise minority voters. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hopes the judges will agree and that the law will be in place in time for the November election.

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Police
1:34 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Police React to Staffing Study

A study says Austin needs to hire 257 more officers and staff in the next five years.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

A new study commissioned by the city shows the Austin Police Department is very busy and “struggling somewhat” to keep up with calls for service.

The study was done by the Police Executive Research Forum, a non-profit law enforcement think tank. And it says the city’s current model of two officers per 1,000 people isn’t working. The study says APD needs more than 250 new officers and staff by 2017.

Wayne Vincent is the president Austin Police Association. He says the effect of short staffing is already having an effect on the city.

“There’s very little uncommitted time for police officers," Vincent says. "They’re going from call to call. There’s no chance to get to know people in the neighborhood, visit with business owners, individuals in the community. So the target is to have that uncommitted time so the officer can be proactive instead of reactive.”

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Formula One
12:00 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Timeline: APD Chief Art Acevedo's F1 Trip to England

"Police operations are up and running," Chief Acevedo tweets from the U.K.
KUT News

Austin has a new Twitter power user: Police Chief Art Acevedo.

While Chief Acevedo is a recent addition to the Twitterverse, having signed up this April, he’s wasted little time in utilizing the social communications tool. While Acevedo uses Twitter to communicate with citizens and share safety updates, it also shows him in a casual light, sometimes joking and complaining.

There’s been some undeniable complaints in Acevedo’s most recent string of tweets, coming all the way from Northampton, England. The police chief is part of a delegation from Austin traveling across the pond to observe a Formula 1 race at the nearby Silverstone circuit. While Acevedo and other city officials have justified the trip as a way to bolster public safety for Austin's upcoming F1 race, others have criticized the trip as a junket.

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AM Update 7/6/12
7:28 am
Fri July 6, 2012

AM Update: Study: APD Needs More Officers, Ft Hood Shooting Jury Questions, Texas Special Ed Numbers

With Austin's population projected to reach over 923,000 by 2017, a study advises APD to grow with the city.

Study Advises APD to Grow with City

A new study commissioned by the City of Austin recommends the Austin Police Department increase its staffing numbers by over 250 by 2017.

The study, released by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit organization which has studied police departments around the nation, suggested APD increase its officer-to-population ratio to 2.11 officers per one thousand residents. Right now, Austin has 2.08 officers per one thousand residents.

The department spends 57 percent of its time responding to calls, leaving little time “to engage the community, solve local crime and disorder problems, or patrol hot spots,” says the report. The study recommends aiming to drop the time spent responding to calls to 45 percent.

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Crime
11:07 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Watch Your Car: Austin Police Offer Free VIN Etching, More

Don't let this happen to you: Austin police urge extra caution during "Watch Your Car" month.
City of Yuma, Arizona

The temperature isn’t the only thing rising this July: So is auto theft.

July is one of the more popular months for car thieves in Texas, according to the Austin Police Department.

This month, police are taking part in a “Watch Your Car” campaign, which aims to educate Austinites on ways they can prevent their cars from being stolen.

APD will be at the Barton Creek Mall today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to offer community services designed to curb car thefts.

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Austin
1:15 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Should the 'No Sit, No Lie' Ordinance Cover East Austin?

Juneteenth parade onlookers near the 12th and Chicon intersection, in east Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The City of Austin’s Public Safety Commission could take action today on a proposal to extend the anti-loitering “No Sit, No Lie”  ordinance to the 12th and Chicon area – an area often reputed for drugs and prostitution.

The ordinance bans anyone from sitting or sleeping on streets near businesses, banks, and ATMs. It’s mostly in effect in downtown Austin, but some are urging it expand to the Eastside.

Members of the Blackshear and Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association has been trying to bring No Sit, No Lie east of I-35 since 2005. But neighbors are split on whether it’s the best solution.

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AM Update 7/2/12
7:35 am
Mon July 2, 2012

AM Update: Last Day to Register for Run-offs, 'Sit and Lie' in East Austin, Longhorns to London

The deadline to register to vote in the July 31 Run-off Election is today.
KUT News

Deadline to Register to Vote in Run-off Elections

Today is the last day to register to vote in the July 31 Primary Run-off election.

You can find a registration form at VoteTexas.gov or at local libraries or post offices. Forms must be post-marked by today.

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