The Contemporary Austin at the Jones Center
"...It is no secret that the union representing Austin Police Department officers has long wanted its own home. The Austin Police Association has rented space in a Downtown building that's been the local home to the state's largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, for more than a decade..."
"...A current APD trainer called the beating "disgusting," while a former trainer described it as justifiable force. Based largely on the video evidence and the testimony of at least one other officer on the scene telling the three accused to lay off the department has already taken administrative action against the officers, while the investigation proceeds...."
"...Folks are already lining up to harangue the council on the Midtown misplay, but the clumsy, panicky way the entire matter was handled a direct consequence, despite official denials, of the public relations disaster created by the stupid, unprofessional, and marginally racist comments of Austin Police Department officers during the Midtown Live fire backfired completely. The deal was already on life support when the city released Futrell's memo to Brewster McCracken, summarizing the discussions that had taken place, in the immediate aftermath of the fire, among Futrell, Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald, and Jo Cash Baylor, acting on behalf of her mother, Selena Cash, and the Cash family (owners of the nightclub)..."
"...Most city departments consider themselves understaffed as it is. The city has stopped hiring, eliminated vacant positions, and frozen salaries, without much regard to actual service needs..."
"...The accused killer – a white man, 32-year-old Joseph Mobley – initially noticed Guidry in the parking lot of a Domino's Pizza on Manchaca Road, just off Slaughter Lane. He was sitting in his own car with his family when he saw Guidry jump into a silver Ford Mustang with the engine running; according to the Austin Police Department affidavit, seconds later, a delivery driver ran out of the shop shouting that his car was being stolen..."
"...It's a fitting coincidence that the consultant's report on Austin Police Department staffing arrived almost simultaneously with an Austin American-Statesman Sunday front-pager on rising property taxes in Travis County. The Police Executive Research Forum "Patrol Utilization Study" reviews APD's current level of police staffing, projects population increases, and concludes that by 2017 we'll need 257 more APD staff members..."
"...Police Monitor Margo Frasier's office this week released its 2010 annual report, showing a drop in the number of complaints made to the office last year. Of the 753 complaints filed, 227 were brought by members of the Austin Police Department..."
"...No one gets arrested just for being drunk; they have to be a danger to themselves or others, or doing something else totally inappropriate. Kudos to the Austin Police Department for a difficult job well done..."
"...Baker apparently contacted the colleague a few hours after she left the shower, asking to have a “private conversation.” She said Baker admitted to installing the camera, and tried to bargain for it back – even offering to retire or transfer to another fire department. Instead, she took it to APD...."
"...2) Questions generally encouraged the candidates to try to strengthen the OPM, perhaps in the direction of subpoena power – the ability to mandate officer testimony and Internal Affairs evidence. (Ann del Llano said she would push to get subpoena power; current Assistant Monitor Renita Sanders said that thus far the relationship with the police department has been cooperative, and a push for subpoena power might well create a more adversarial situation.)..."
"...A third man, still unnamed, was detained without other incident but apparently not arrested. Police later identified the Austin Police Department officer as eight-year veteran Leonardo Quintana, who has been placed on administrative leave until the official investigation is complete..."
"...immigration laws, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials asked the Travis County Sheriff's Office in January for some office space at the county jail. The office complied, as it does in collaborative efforts with all federal, state, and local agencies, and since then, ICE has enjoyed unfettered access to a small office in the jail that is shared with agencies like the Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety...."
"...To be sure, busting a band on Sixth Street during South by Southwest, even in what both witnesses and videotape suggest was an unnecessarily ham-handed way, is a trivial matter compared to the taking of a life, or even to other controversial recent actions of Austin police. But for a city government, police department, and police union that are all striving to cool off, calm down, and put the last two years' worth of strife behind them, the timing of the latest incident one that, given its context, effectively unites constituencies heretofore at odds over the APD crisis could not be much more inopportune...."
"...2) We know it didn't happen because it has been thoroughly investigated. (Futrell, to Smith in 2001: "But we have looked at this at least three times on all different levels, our lawyers, the Department of Justice, and it's just one of these ghosts..."
"...As it happens, I didn't hear a single person request more funding for the Austin Police Department, and the few who mentioned property taxes said they didn't see the point of a nominal break on their taxes if the result is a cut in these essential services. An Inequality Crisis..."
"...The General Fund (operating expense) and Support Services Departments came up with $23 million in potential cuts (the enterprise/income producing departments are not in this exercise), and your judgment of their wisdom will likely depend on your sense of city service priorities. At a minimum, I would think folks might wonder if a $50 kickback to homeowners would be worth what it will cost in community needs...."
"...Take the slogan "live music capital of the world," for example. In November, the Austin Police Department received 74 noise complaints stemming from live music..."
"...Last week, much of the world was falsely told by sloppy, rushed reporters working for a myriad mainstream (i.e., white-owned) news sources, that an angry mob of black men beat a Hispanic man to death while thousands of black festivalgoers watched and the central lesson here is either the underreporting of black crime or the Austin Police Department's poor minority relations!?..."
"...Again, quoting Knee, in the curious language of police dismissals: "While it is never an easy decision to terminate an officer's employment, I believe that it is in the best interests of the Department, the community, and Officer Schroeder, that she be indefinitely suspended."A Matter for Arbitration..."
"...Police have not yet released the name of the man or the officers involved; per policy, the officer who fired his weapon, who has been with the department just under three years, has been placed on administrative leave, pending both a criminal and administrative inquiry into the shooting...."
"...The Austin Police officers involved in the fatal May 30 shooting of 20-year-old Byron Carter should be fired, Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder told the Citizen Review Panel Monday night. "They should be fired, no questions asked," he told the panel, which met to review the Austin Police Department Internal Affairs investigation of the shooting on East Eighth..."
"...Nonetheless, Ott said he was pleased to name Frasier to replace outgoing monitor Cliff Brown, who will be assuming a district court bench seat next week (he's been elected to replace retiring Judge Wilford Flowers). There's "no higher responsibility than maintaining the trust" of the community in its police department, and Frasier is uniquely qualified to take on that task, Ott said...."
"...Even more troubling is the abrupt and radical polarization of the public discussion long before any of us can be remotely certain what actually happened in the early morning hours of June 3. On the same talk shows, in the letters columns, on blogs and postings, or during the current Austin Police Department chief candidate forums, there is little patience and less middle ground..."
"...A trial that may break the city's stalemate over the initial purchase of 500 new body cameras for Austin Police Department officers remains slated to begin Nov. 28..."
"..."The perpetrator is quite brazen and bold," said Austin Police Department Lieutenant Gena Curtis at a Feb. 10 press conference..."
"...That's an issue on which they will surely find great support from their neighbors to the northwest in District 6. As Meeker noted, "In West Lake Hills, whenever they're removing [brush], they say they're removing fuel." However, the Austin Fire Department is already understaffed because of the ongoing Department of Justice discrimination action, and Meeker sees existing ordinances – such as the $500 firework fine – as both weak and scarcely enforced...."
"...Inside the city's Emergency Operations Center in East Austin, city, county and Circuit of the Americas officials highlighted the collaboration among city departments and county, state, and federal agencies that for more than a year have been planning for the city's inaugural F1 weekend, now just 10 days away. "We've been working with a very single-focused and tracked mind" to prepare for the race, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told the assembled media..."
"...For the most part, the local version of Occupy has been (in the Austin fashion) unsurprisingly laid-back, with the glaring exception of the Halloween weekend arrests by the Austin Police Department (see "Halloween Crackdown on Occupy Austin," Nov. 4)..."
"...With a week left to go before City Council considers a $750,000 settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit with the family of Nathaniel Sanders II, who was killed by former Austin Police Department Officer Leonardo Quintana in May 2009, Austin police union President Wayne Vincent is encouraging city officials to vote the deal down. Vincent, who heads the Austin Police Association, wrote to the mayor and council last week arguing that settling the case would leave a "permanent impression" that the city "admits this shooting was unjustified and that Officer Quintana alone was responsible for the death of this young man." "Nothing could be further from the truth, and any reasonable person knowledgeable about the facts would agree." Further, he wrote, settling the case "completely counters any intention of city government transparency." Instead, he argues, the city should take the case to trial, where the public can "see all of the facts." Moreover, he argues that the city's history of "such settlements" – including a $1 million settlement in the 2007 police shooting case of Kevin Brown, whose family was also represented by Adam Loewy, the Sanders family's lawyer – sends a dangerous message to "those who still believe they have a right to resist and fight our Police Officers." In the end, Vincent says, the union believes that city officials have a "responsibility" to taxpayers to fight the suit in court..."
"...More precisely, Ott had responded briefly to Lomas ("If what you're saying is true those responsible will be held accountable") and forwarded the message to City Attorney David Smith, who turned it over to the Police Department. So far, so good, except that Smith apparently neglected to inform anybody else – meaning neither Browder (ultimately responsible for Fleet) nor Assistant City Attorney Lee Crawford nor even Ott himself (presumably attorney Smith's client) received the benefit of Smith's memory or knowledge or counsel when they tried to address these matters in November, or February, or July..."
"...And that's why knowing your child is extremely important. "I'd say, in 80% of our runaways, the parents can't name, by name, a friend of their child," says Scott, a 15-year department veteran...."
"...Dear Editor, If you or I were to kill an unarmed man, and openly admit to it, we would receive at least 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or possibly the death penalty. But when former Austin Police Department Officer Michael Olsen admits to this, he loses his job (and probably gets benefits and unemployment along with it) [“Panel Upholds Olsen Firing, but Case Doesn't End Here,” News, March 7]. Why do people have no trust in the police? Because they can kill you and then just get shipped off to another county or state to be rehired and do it again. Olsen deserves to pay for his crime what any ordinary citizen would have to pay. I'm against the death penalty, but maybe executing a few killer cops would send a message to other cops who kill hundreds of American citizens a year that there is a price to pay...."
"...Austinites love their trees; this is a city where citizens will gladly be branded "tree huggers" and wear the epithet as a badge of honor. We've taken this love so far as to declare certain trees legally protected: Under the city's Tree and Natural Area Preservation Ordinance, removal of a tree with a circumference of 60 inches or greater, measured 4½ feet above natural grade (equal to a 19-inch diameter), requires a permit from the Watershed Protection and Development Review Department, with certain exceptions (such as removal of a damaged tree that poses a hazard to life or property)..."
"...Of that, more later. And the same for Austin Police Department Chief Stan Knee's briefing on the revised Taser policy, statistically persuasive and mostly self-congratulatory: "We believe that the Taser is an effective tool in reducing situations where police officers and suspects come in violent contact, and has reduced the number of serious injuries to both officers and suspects."..."
"...As the film details, the idea of police department SWAT teams first rose to prominence in Los Angeles after the 1965 Watts riots. Lawrence decided to establish a team in the Seventies after dealing with two notorious criminal investigations – the Hi-Fi murders, and Ted Bundy’s killing spree..."
"...After the officers filed a formal complaint, Chief Art Acevedo said he would reconsider the use of leave time and recalled Harrison to full-time department duty – a move that prompted CLEAT to seek a temporary restraining order. The agreement between the city and CLEAT also means that complaint will be dismissed...."
"...Police officers are human and fallible like anyone else and placing them in a position of power over the public with no oversight ensures that abuses are not merely without consequence but inevitable. Had a civilian treated Ms. Milan Luna the way Austin Police Department officers did, they would be charged with unlawful detention, assault and battery, and perhaps perjury..."
"...jury to hold police officers accountable for their unlawful actions. That's the immediate conclusion to be drawn, once again, from the refusal last week of a federal jury to find three Austin Police Department officers guilty of violating the civil rights of a man they subdued, handcuffed, and then beat on the ground in retaliation for attempting to escape...."
"...Dear Editor, Advocates for police accountability worked hard to get our city to hire psychologists at the Austin Police Department. This was to ensure that officers entering the academy were screened properly for mental issues that would impair their ability to adequately serve the public as well as track them throughout their tenure on the force..."
"...Mayor Will Wynn rounded out council's discussion on the matter by acknowledging the "trade-offs" associated with E85 but emphasizing its "demonstrable well-to-wheel reduction in CO2." He expressed hope that "significant changes" in standard vehicle technology (like plug-in hybrids) are made to allow "a complicated organization like a city" to achieve "dramatic, measurable reductions in all emissions." He clarified that "I am certainly not promoting [E85] for the viable long-term alternative." But regardless, by 2008, much of the Austin Police Department fleet will be running on moonshine's straight-laced cousin, ethanol...."
"...The Austin Police Association and Austin Police Department held a vigil Thursday night at the Texas Capitol to honor the five police officers who died last week in Dallas...."
"...The saga of the Austin Police Department's infiltration of the Occupy Austin movement continued in Harris County court last week when the real names of two undercover detectives assigned to keep an eye on the OA activities were finally revealed...."
"...Dear Editor, I see where the Austin Police Department officials assigned at least three undercover officers to infiltrate Occupy Austin to gather intelligence on any plan that might have involved actual law breaking [“APD Infiltrates Occupy," Newsdesk blog, Aug. 30]..."