Austin Police

Austin
9:36 am
Tue October 2, 2012

It's National Night Out in Austin

National Night Out is nearing its third decade.

Tonight will mark the 29th annual National Night Out.  And all over Texas, citizens will be turning their porch light on and spending the evening meeting with neighbors, police officers and public safety responders.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime prevention and awareness, strengthen neighborhood bonds and, most importantly, send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime.

Austin is marking National Night Out with an event at The Domain this evening. The event will start at 5 p.m. and representatives from the Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Department and Austin Energy will be there to help educate people about crime prevention. Along with information, food and games will be available to help build the neighborly spirit.

Interested in learning more about National Night Out? You can visit the site for the National Association of Town Watch or Austin Police's National Night Out page.

Public Safety
5:02 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Suspect Dies in Officer-Involved Shooting

The APD officer who shot the suspect is on paid administrative leave.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update (5 p.m.): Austin Police tell KUT News Paladino died at University Medical Center Brackenridge approximately one-hour ago. 

Update (4 p.m.): Police have identified the suspect as 42 year-old Maurice Chad Paladino.

Update (2:40 p.m.): Austin Police have released the name of the officer involved in the shooting. APD officials say Officer Brandon Blanche was in danger for his life.

"In watching the video," Assistant Police Chief Sean Mannix says, "I think all of us are comfortable that there's not going to be any legal issues with the shooting, that the officer likely acted lawfully. But we hold our officers to a higher standard administratively. What we have to look at is the lawfulness of the shooting, but we also have to look at the tactics employed and how the officers got to the situation they were in as well."

Mannix says Blanche was clearly in the path of the vehicle that "actively engaged" when he discharged his weapon.

The still unnamed suspect is said to be in "grave condition."

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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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