Austin Police Department

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

After a damning report that suggested Austin police officers used force in traffic stops at alarming rates, the department is defending its data-collection – sort of.

An analysis of the department's use of force last month by Scott Henson on his criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast found the department used force that caused injury 921 times in 2018 — a rate of 77 times per 10,000 traffic stops, which dwarfed other, large metropolitan departments in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At around 7 o’clock on the morning of March 2, 2018, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed when a package bomb left on the porch of his North Austin home exploded. The bomb turned out to be the first of five bombs that would go off over the next few weeks, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring five others. The bomber later killed himself in a separate bomb explosion.

One year later, KUT is revisiting the investigation, and the impact and aftermath of the bombings.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council last month approved an independent review of how the police department handles sexual assault cases. Mayor Steve Adler, who voted in favor of the review, says he has confidence in Police Chief Brian Manley and the work of the department. But, Adler says, he wants to get at the core of what he calls the "greatest challenges" facing the department in completing sexual assault investigations.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Police Department agrees with most of the results of a state audit that found police wrongly classified a number of rape cases in 2017, according to a letter Police Chief Brian Manley sent the Texas Department of Public Safety on Monday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin will conduct an independent review of sexual assault investigations handled by the Austin Police Department. The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday to undertake the audit, which was spurred by community concerns over how the department classifies and investigates cases.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A new group that aims to improve the response to sexual assaults in Austin and Travis County was announced yesterday. Its formation comes after public concern over how investigations have been handled. But that concern isn't new: There has been a group in place for nearly three decades tackling these issues, and the work hasn't been easy. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and former state Sen. Wendy Davis announced the creation of a Sexual Assault Prevention and Healing Work Group today in response to concerns about how sexual assaults are handled in Travis County.

The group will focus on collecting data about sexual assaults to better advocate for survivors.

Gabriel C. Pérez

City Council Member Alison Alter posted a resolution today that would direct the city manager to find a third-party investigator to look at how sexual assault cases are handled in Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Police Department has ordered a third-party audit of sexual assault investigations after state auditors found it misclassified certain rape cases.  

KUT

When Austin Police Chief Brian Manley announced last week that state auditors had found problems with how police classify rape cases, some people were not shocked by the news.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

State auditors have found that the Austin Police Department inaccurately classified more than two dozen rape cases from three months in 2017, according to Police Chief Brian Manley.

The results are preliminary. At a news conference Monday, Manley said a full report from the Texas Department of Public Safety would be released later this month.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

A commander with the Austin Police Department was indefinitely suspended Thursday – essentially fired – after an investigation into allegations that he assaulted a woman he met on Tinder.

The woman contacted police in August to report that Jason Dusterhoft had become increasingly violent during sex.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A national investigation into how police departments solve rape cases discovered that some departments consider a case cleared even when there is no arrest and the suspect is still on the streets. The number of these "exceptionally cleared" cases in Austin, in particular, has raised concerns.  

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Officers with the Austin Police Department are getting a new labor contract.

After nearly a year of negotiations, City Council members unanimously approved a four-year and $44.6 million contract between the city and the local police union. Police reform activists celebrated the contract as a step toward more transparency – including the ability to file complaints online and anonymously.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

The City of Austin and the Austin police union have reached a tentative agreement for a new labor contract.

The agreement reached last night would give officers a pay raise and allow the city to expand its efforts on civilian-led police oversight. During negotiations Thursday, Austin Police Association attorney Ron DeLord expressed frustration with the process, calling it “theater.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

A municipal court on Friday ruled in favor of Austin's ban against camping in public places.

In his decision, Municipal Judge Mitchell Solomon sided with the city in the case of Gary Bowens, an Austinite who has multiple citations for camping in public, a Class C misdemeanor that his attorneys and homelessness advocates say targets homeless people unfairly.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It took two years and millions of dollars, but thousands of sexual assault evidence kits collected in Austin and stuck in backlog have finally been tested.

The Austin Police Department confirmed it completed the testing in late September.

Emree Weaver for KUT

It's a new fiscal year for the City of Austin, and one of the myriad items on City Council agendas over the next year will be an overhaul of ordinances relating to homelessness. That won't be easy, as federal courts could inform – and complicate – that effort.

File photo / Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Residents can expect to see new branding of Austin Police Department facilities and vehicles in what Police Chief Brian Manley calls an effort to make Austin the “country’s safest city.”

During a news conference Thursday, Manley released an updated report outlining the department’s goals to improve community policing. He said the police department's new tagline “One Austin. Safer Together” will help reflect the values of the police force and residents.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Cody Wilson, founder of the 3D-printed gun firm Defense Distributed, has been accused of sexual assault of a minor last month, a second-degree felony. In a press conference today, the Austin Police Department said the self-styled "radical libertarian" and gun-rights activist was last seen in Taipei, Taiwan and that he missed a flight back to the United States.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

The City of Austin will host three community forums over the next week to consider changing how city police officers are supervised.

Julia Reihs / KUT

No officer will be indicted for the officer-involved shooting of a serial bomber in March, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Drones are multipurpose: They can deliver pizzas and tally seals. Drones can fight wildfires and make aerial videos that garner pretty impressive watch counts on YouTube.

Drones can also map fatal car crashes, which is why the Austin Police Department recently doled out $10,468 to buy two of them.

DaLyah Jones / KUT

Family and friends say they want people to remember 19-year-old Devonte "Bubba" Ortiz for who he really was.

“He was so smart and brave and outgoing,” Kniyah Pollard, one of his best friends, said Friday outside the Pleasant Hill Apartments in Southeast Austin. Ortiz was shot and killed in the parking lot of the complex early on the Fourth of July during an argument over fireworks.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin’s system of police oversight may be more effective than others at promoting long-term change, but there's still skepticism about the agency, according to a new report

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Brian Manley is now officially the chief of police in Austin, after serving as interim chief for more than a year and a half. He says he believes he is the right guy for the job, though he admits there is challenging work to do in repairing relationships with some communities here.

Nathan Bernier / KUT

If an Austin police officer stops someone for a nonviolent misdemeanor – such as possessing a small amount of marijuana or driving without a valid license – the officer has a choice: issue a citation or arrest the person. Simply put, the officer has discretion.

Austin City Council members voted 9-0 (two council members were not present) Thursday to do away with some of this discretion. Proponents cited police data that show black and Hispanic people stopped for low-level offenses are more likely than white people to be arrested than cited.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

After roughly a month of collecting public feedback, City Manager Spencer Cronk has nominated interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley to head the department permanently. The appointment requires a City Council vote; members are scheduled to discuss it Thursday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council passed a resolution today preventing the police department from selling used guns to the public.

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