Austin Police

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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City Council
9:06 am
Fri June 29, 2012

City Council Wrap-Up, F1 Trip to England for City Officials

The copper ceiling inside City Hall.
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.

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Crime
5:52 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Report: Daniel Indicted On Capital Murder Charge in APD Officer Death

Booking Photo of Brandon Daniel
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.

police
5:07 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Austin NAACP Calls for Justice Department to Resume Police Investigation

Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder has called for another federal investigation of local police.
.naacp-austin.org

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.

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Austin
3:19 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

No More Cars on the Green: APD Steeping Up Enforcement

Blues on the Green is held on Zilker Park's Great Lawn every other Wednesday during the summer.
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.

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Crime
4:38 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

APD: Jovita's Owner at Center of Heroin Ring; Sold Drugs in Restaurant

The 19 suspects in today's heroin bust, "Operation Muerte Negra."
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.”

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police
1:09 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Update: FBI, APD in Joint Operation Near Jovita’s Restaurant in South Austin

Jovita's is a popular Mexican restaurant on South First Street.
flickr.com/sleystl

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:

15 ARRESTED ON FEDERAL CONSPIRACY CHARGE IN AUSTIN-BASED HEROIN DISTRIBUTION OPERATION

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 …

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AM Update 6/21/12
7:53 am
Thu June 21, 2012

AM Update: Health Care Decision Expected, New Education Website, 'Police Games' in Austin

Protesters clash over the Affordable Care Act in 2009.
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."

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Police
2:16 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

In Wake of Cisco the Dog Shooting, APD Announces Changes to Canine Protocol

facebook.com/JusticeForCisco

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.

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