Austin Police

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 or at local libraries or post offices. Forms must be post-marked by today.

Paulo Martins for KUT News

The Austin City Council wrapped up its Thursday meeting at 3:45 a.m. Friday morning.

Council members rejected a proposal to build a $5 million temporary customs and immigration processing facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

They postponed until August a discussion on ordinance changes for short-term housing rentals.

Austin Police Department

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that a grand jury has returned a indictment charging Brandon Daniel with the April shooting death of Austin police officer Jaime Padron at a North Austin Wal-Mart.

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo refuted claims the department uses excessive force against minorities at a press conference this afternoon.

The chief’s heated speech came after the Austin NAACP formally filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against APD for alleged mistreatment of Hispanics and African-Americans.

Acevedo said that occasional use of force is an ugly reality of the job for many police officers. “We can’t change law to take away officers’ rights to defend themselves or others,” he said.

Nathan Bernier, KUT Staff

Parking is becoming a problem at Zilker Park.

The Austin Police Department is trying to curb citations and towings at large events there like Blues on the Green, KGSR’s free biweekly concert event. The last concert saw 22 citations for illegal parking.

Police held a press conference today warning concert-goers to avoid tow-away zones like residential driveways, and stay off  lawns and high grass.

Austin Police Department

Regional officials alleged today that Amado Pardo, the owner of Jovita’s Mexican Restaurant in South Austin, led a prison-gang connected heroin ring that moved between $3,400 and $6,250 worth of drugs daily.

Officials from the Austin Police, the FBI, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Office of the Inspector General and other agencies announced 18 arrests and the seizure of over $1.5 million in assets in a press conference this afternoon, “including a well-known restaurant on South First Street, Jovita’s,” said APD Assistant Chief Sean Mannix.  

Patrick Loll, an FBI assistant special agent for Central Texas, said Pardo lead a “heroin distribution network that has operated here for over a decade.”

Update (2 p.m.): Austin police and additional law enforcement agencies are holding a press conference at 3:30 p.m. to discuss "Operation Muerta Negra" (Black Death), the code name for this morning's bust. 

"The agencies executed nine search warrants and 19 people were arrested in connection with the year-long investigation," police write in a press release. That's four additional arrests than the 15 described by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Update (1 p.m.): 15 Arrested in Connection With Heroin Distribution Ring

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas:


Federal, state and local law enforcement have arrested 15 individuals, including ringleader 64-year-old Amado Pardo, in connection with an Austin-based heroin distribution operation …

KUT News

Supreme Court Health Care Decision Expected

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act possibly as soon as today.

The controversial law is the Obama administration’s most touted accomplishment. President Obama calls it "the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important reform of our health care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s."

After the controversial shooting of a pet dog named Cisco earlier this year, Austin Police are announcing training and policy changes to the use of lethal force on dogs.

Austin Police Department Chief of Staff  David Carter says the department is quickly implementing policy and training changes – in hopes an incident like the Cisco shooting doesn’t happen again.

“Before an officer takes action, there needs to be an imminent threat of bodily injury,” Carter says, “whereas in the past, it would describe that the animal was dangerous.” Additionally, officers would need to “justify the position of using a firearm, versus using some other method to repel a dog, if that’s necessary. For example using a nightstick, or chemical spray, or a tazer, or some other thing such as that.”  Additional responsibility now also falls on the officer’s supervisor to investigate such shootings, instead of having the officer self-report on the circumstances of the shooting.

Andy Uhler, KUT News

Assistant Austin Police chief Sean Mannix today said officers followed proper protocol in a high speed chase Friday – but added that the chase would have been “terminated in a matter of seconds” had the suspect not crashed into another car, killing an innocent motorist.

32-year old James Williford was hit and killed by a Ford F-250 allegedly driven by Reynaldo Victor Hernandez Jr. Hernandez was running from police when he raced through a red light and crashed into James  Williford’s Mitsubishi Lancer.

“This happened in a manner of seconds – less than a minute and a half from the time the officer got behind the vehicle until the crash occurred,” said Mannix.

Photo by Andy Uhler for KUT News

Today, family members of Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron joined Police Chief Art Acevedo in paying tribute to Wal-Mart employees whose quick reaction likely prevented further bloodshed in the incident that claimed Officer Padron’s life.

Chief Acevedo gave certificates of recognition to several Wal-Mart employees before recognizing Archie Jordy and Lincoln Le Mere specifically for stepping in and helping tackle the shooter. 

The two were presented with glass trophies which included Officer Padron's badge number. Since the shooting, Acevedo has called the actions of the two men the silver lining in a tragic event.

Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Austin Police Department announced a series of safety measures focused on drunk driving for the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally. 

The ROT Rally kicks off this Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Travis County Exposition Center in Northeast Austin. Over 40,000 people have registered to attend, and over 100,000 on-lookers are anticipated, according to APD.  ROT is the fourth-largest biker rally of its kind in the United States.       

A “No-Refusal” policy will go into effect at 9 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. on Sunday. Under the policy, police can issue blood search warrants on suspects who refuse to give a breath or blood sample.  Art Acevedo, the Austin Police Chief, hopes that the stringent policy will deter rally goers from making poor decisions while drinking. 

Photo by KUT News, Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News, Photo courtesy

Unsolved Murders to get Another Look?

Today Austin’s Public Safety Commission will consider a change in the way the city investigates unsolved crimes like the Yogurt Shop Murders.

The commission’s vice chair says the city needs to spend money on external reviews for some unsolved crimes because Austin Police Department detectives know too much about the cases and aren’t able to be as open-minded about possible solutions

Dr. Kim Rossmo says the Yogurt Shop Murders should be the first case considered for an external review. In 1991, the bodies of four teenage girls were discovered after a fire in a yogurt shop. Convictions in the crime were overturned.

Photo by KUT News

Austinites will flock to the city's numerous parks and waterways this weekend. We've put together a guide for what you need to know about rules and safety.

Watercraft Ban: Put Away that Motorized Surfboard!

If you’re planning to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend on Lady Bird Lake, you'll need to leave your motorized surfboard at home. The Austin Police Department will be enforcing an annual ban on motorized personal watercraft – like jet skis – from sunset on Friday until sunrise on Tuesday.

Photo by By Daniel Reese for KUT News

Today marks the beginning of another "Click it or Ticket" campaign, a two-week undertaking by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to enforce seat belt usage. 

In Texas and across the country, law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers shirking seatbelt laws, or whose children are improperly restrained. (Children under eight years must be in a child safety seat, unless they are taller than 4'9".) Citations run up to $250.

The NHTSA writes on its website that in the annual “Click It or Ticket” initiative, over three million tickets have been written over the last five years – a ticket every other second.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

In Austin, it’s illegal to use your cell phone for anything other than phone calls while driving. That includes texting and surfing the internet. The ban went into effect January 1, 2010.

But is the ban making a difference?

The Austin Police Department told KUT that officers have written just 26 citations for texting while driving since the city’s ban took effect.