Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Austin protest fallout continues

October 31, 2022

In Austin, Texas, criminal cases have yet to go to trial against 21 officers indicted over their actions during the George Floyd protests in 2020. In the meantime, 8 civil cases against the city have been settled for $16.6 million, while 12 cases are still pending, as reported here. According to a recently released after-action report, “many officers lacked an understanding of crowd management, riot control techniques, tactics and protocols.” Officers are accused of shooting bean bag munitions “into crowds, at protesters’ heads and at protesters who were not threatening violence when they were shot.”

54th Mile Policing Project

June 28, 2022

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, three Black police executives, one each from California, Texas, and North Carolina, walked the historic 54-mile civil rights journey from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. Done by them for the purpose of self-reflection in troubled times, it has now been made into a short documentary film — the trailer is here. Expect to see the film used in police training and to facilitate police-community conversations.

Fallout from 2020 protests

April 5, 2022

A federal jury in Denver has awarded $14 million to 12 protesters who were “hit with pepper balls and a bag filled with lead” during post-George Floyd protests in 2020, as reported here. According to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, there are at least 29 other similar lawsuits pending, including ones in New York, Washington, and Rochester. Meanwhile, last month 19 Austin PD officers were indicted on two counts each of aggravated assault resulting in injuries to 11 protesters in May 2020, mainly from beanbag rounds, as reported here. One use-of-force expert cites the relative lack of training for police on handling protests, noting “it would be prohibitively expensive to have officers practice deploying equipment” such as rubber bullets, pepper balls, bean bag rounds, and gas cannisters.

Preventing fraudulent vehicle purchases

February 1, 2022

Houston PD has developed a partnership with auto dealers to prevent fraudulent purchases by individuals using stolen identities, as reported in this news clip. The approach has prevented $5 million worth of thefts since 2018 and led to numerous arrests. HPD has provided training to auto dealers on how to spot identity fraud and the strategy is being exported to other jurisdictions throughout Texas.

Response time issue in Ft. Worth

January 7, 2022

According to recent analyses, the average police response time to all calls in Ft. Worth is 29 minutes, as reported here. For Priority 1 calls, the department has a goal of responding within 9 minutes, but actual response takes longer almost half the time. An audit report found that each of the other 4 largest Texas cities had quicker response goals than Ft. Worth, and also that the city’s goals had not been reexamined in several years. Officials pointed to staffing shortages in patrol and in the 911 center, as well as technology issues.

Uneven use of Brady lists

October 26, 2021

The Supreme Court’s 1963 Brady ruling requires prosecutors to “turn over exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys, including information that could be used to question the officers’ credibility.” According to this article, prosecutors around the country vary substantially in how they adhere to Brady. One reason is that the court’s ruling did not specify either the procedures to be followed or precisely what information might implicate an officer’s credibility. As a result, some prosecutors and police agencies, but not all, maintain lists of officers whose testimony should be avoided. Also, some include complaints of unnecessary or excessive force among the criteria affecting an officer’s credibility, while others argue that use of force and honesty are separate and independent considerations.

Position open: Research & planning manager, Austin TX

October 11, 2021

Austin, TX is seeking a leader for its police department’s Research & Planning Division, which includes multiple crime analysis and research teams. The application deadline is October 15. For details, see here.

Police union contracts and reform

February 3, 2021

This article predicts that reformers will soon start targeting police union contracts, noting that “Over multiple rounds of negotiations, the number of job protections has slowly ratcheted up in many contracts as unions representing police pushed for rules that protect their members.” Houston and Chicago are currently in negotiations, with Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Memphis, Phoenix, and San Francisco coming up this summer. Topics recommended for reconsideration include grievance procedures, arbitration, misconduct reporting, internal investigation protocols, and record keeping.

Reserve officers during COVID

November 21, 2020

Some police agencies have robust reserve officer programs that supplement sworn staffing at little or no cost. This post highlights the use of reserves during the COVID-19 pandemic in Orange County (FL), Washington DC, Phoenix, and Dallas. Volunteer officers back-filled in patrol, specialized assignments, and administrative roles and also served on the front lines during protests.

Non-police and co-response models

October 10, 2020

Interest in non-police and co-response models to calls involving behavioral health and behavioral crisis continues to be strong. Here’s a nice new video highlighting some of the options currently being used in several jurisdictions.