This Land Is Not Your Land

APD officer fired; faces felony for illegally hunting

Austin Police Department Officer Jerimy Helm is out of a job and facing one state felony and five misdemeanor charges after Texas Parks and Wildlife and APD learned of his alleged insistence on using his neighbor's Leander property for recreational hunting, despite her making it clear that he wasn't allowed to do so. Helm, who has spent almost seven years with the department, was indefinitely suspended on April 5, for violating APD's Responsibility to Know and Comply policy and bringing discredit upon the department.

Helm is accused of cutting down the fence separating his property from his neighbor's (who spends most of her time in New York) and trespassing so that he could hunt deer. Helm allegedly began doing this some time before May 4, 2015, when TPWD Game Warden Christopher Sanchez was first called out to the neighbor's property to investigate signs of trespassing on the land. On May 9, Sanchez found a cut-down fence, game feeder, and camera around the property line.

Sanchez returned to the property Sept. 6 to find the original fence line had been further altered: Cedar brush was now removed, and a new feeder and camera were in place. Sanchez gathered string on the case through the fall, and on Nov. 13 executed a search warrant for Helm's house concerning allegations of trespassing. Among the items obtained was a GoPro camera – the recorded contents of which made clear that Helm and his friends were using his neighbor's property to hunt.

Helm was arrested March 11, and charged with five class A misdemeanors for hunting without consent, and one state jail felony for violating hunting provisions with a previous violation. The felony case will be heard April 25; a hearing is set for the misdemeanors on April 26. A spokesman for CLEAT (Combined Law Enforce­ment Associa­tions of Texas) told the Chronicle that Helm has filed an appeal of his termination from APD.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin Police Department, APD, Jerimy Helm, Texas Parks and Wildlife

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