Police

Chris/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In 2014, a Cleveland police officer killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing at a park with a toy gun – a gun that police thought was real. In the intervening years, police officers have killed approximately 153 more people who were holding toy guns. Investigative reporter Alain Stephens, a Texas Standard alumnus who now contributes to The Trace, says these toy guns look surprisingly realistic, and that’s by design.

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From Texas Standard.

Few modern creations match the convenience of online holiday shopping – that is, unless you’ve had a package stolen from your front porch. Across the country, mail and delivery burglaries are on the rise, but one central Texas Police chief knows just the place place to send packages this holiday season.

Last week, the Round Rock Police Department launched Operation Front Porch, a program aimed at reducing the number of front door burglaries during the holiday season. Residents can ship packages directly to the city’s police department address and pick them up during normal business hours once they arrive.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The saying, you’re only as good as your equipment, has serious implications for first responders. A faulty service weapon can mean the difference between life and death for police officers and those they protect, which makes what's happening in Houston all the more frightening.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT Austin

From Texas Standard:

Soon, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin billing local police departments across Texas for any lab work done by the agency. The service used to be free but DPS is now charging in order to make up for budget cuts to its lab system made during the regular legislative session.

Tony Hisgett/Wikimedia Commons [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

A new program helps first responders with work-related trauma avoid criminal prosecution if they commit a crime. House Bill 3391, which is now law, gives counties the option to set up specialty courts to divert people into treatment rather than jail.

Flickr/North Charleston (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It’s common practice for police officers to earn a couple of bucks on the side by working various off-duty gigs.

But for some moonlighting officers, one piece of equipment is often left behind. Most police agencies that require officers to wear body cameras don't require or won't allow cameras on off-duty officers.

 

From Texas Standard:

Five seconds and 50,000 volts – that's enough of a jolt to hijack your nervous system and contract every muscle in your body. Applying electricity in this way has become the tool of choice for police officers across the country. We're talking about conducted electrical weapons, better-known as tasers. They've rapidly moved from an obscure police technology, into the public consciousness. They've been hailed by law enforcement as a life-saving tool. But some critics say that's far from the case.

dallashabitatphotos/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

On its current path, the Dallas police and fire pension fund would run out of money in 10 years, leaving thousands of public safety pensioners in the lurch.

Hourick/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard:

Many have expressed concern and outrage over the way police treat citizens, especially African-Americans and other minorities. The Black Lives Matter movement began in response to the deaths of African-Americans in police custody, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the arrest of Sandra Bland, who was later found dead in a Waller County jail, an apparent suicide.

KUT

Officers with the University of Texas Police Department have started using body cameras, the university said in a statement Thursday.

The university entered into a five-year contract worth $450,000 to buy body cameras and video storage space from Axon, the technology company formerly known as Taser International. UTPD Police Chief David Carter said the contract has been in the works since he came to the department in 2013.

Fourteen recommendations in the Texas House County Affairs Committee's recent report to lawmakers – including calls for them to increase police officer training for de-escalation and mental health awareness, to back jail-to-treatment diversion programs, and eliminate consent searches during stops – will be the foundation for the Sandra Bland Act.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Statistics of officer-involved shootings are scarce in Texas. But the investigations team at the Houston Chronicle has been examining the city's police force to get a handle on the numbers.

There are plenty of recent stories involving white police officers who have shot and killed black men, including some who are on trial for those shootings. Then there's the case of a white cop who did not shoot a black man holding a gun — and it may have cost him his job.

It started with a 911 call for help in Weirton, W.Va., on May 6 at 2:51 a.m. An emergency dispatcher in turn put out a call for an officer.

"Had a female stating they needed someone right now. She sounded hysterical," the dispatcher said. "Hung up the phone, will not answer on call back."

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

This month, voters elected the second woman in history to serve as Travis County sheriff. Now, the department is working to recruit more female deputies and corrections officers to its ranks.

MellieRene4/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

This is part three of a series on “suicide by cop.” What does it mean? Who are the victims? Why is this happening? 

On New Year’s Day 2015, Marisela Martinez walked into the Hidalgo County Jail swinging what was later determined to be a BB pistol. She said she just committed a robbery at a nearby bail bonds business and she'd shoot anyone who came near. People in the waiting room ran for safety. Officers arrived on the scene. The woman screamed: "Shoot me! Shoot me!"

The case looks like the textbook scenario of someone attempting "suicide by cop” – instances which are happening more and more frequently. But are incidents like this, in fact, on the rise? Or are we simply more plugged in and therefore hearing more about them? 

 


Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

In October, the husband of a 26-year-old Austin woman called 911 to request help for her from a mental health officer. A few hours later, she was dead.

Courtesy Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Police shootings from around the country have often topped the news for the past year, but details about how much they happen, and who these shootings affect most, have been sparse. The Texas Tribune spent nearly a year putting together a digital project exploring the number of shootings they could independently confirm have happened between 2010 and 2015.

"Unholstered: When Texas Police Pull the Trigger" looks at officer-involved shootings in 36 of the state’s major Texas cities with over 100,000 residents. The project comes complete with data visualizations and six in-depth articles that dig into the data’s implications.


Robert Hart / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott wants the targeted killing of a police officer to be deemed a hate crime in Texas and urged lawmakers to send him such a bill to sign during next year's legislative session. Abbott announced Monday his plan to lobby for adding his Police Protection Act to Texas law. 

Flickr/dallashabitatphotos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Police departments across the country, and especially across Texas, have been reeling from last week's police shooting in Dallas – mourning officers lost, but also operating on a heightened sense of alert.

Vigil Honors Fallen Dallas Police

Jul 15, 2016
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Law enforcement officials, legislators and citizens formed a sea of blue Thursday night at the state Capitol, raising blue glow sticks in the air during a vigil to honor the lives of the five police officers who were killed in Dallas one week ago.

Raymond Wambsgans/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

While police, media, and citizens piece together the details of the shooting of police officers in Dallas last week, we still are left with many questions. One of which surrounds the use of police tactics. In a never-before-seen measure, Dallas Police Negotiators used a robot armed with a bomb to end a prolonged standoff with the shooter. That tactic has now called into question the legality of such weapons and their deployment.

Flickr/dallashabitatphotos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Five officers were killed and seven others were injured Thursday night as a downtown Dallas protest was ending.

Are Cops in Schools Creating a 'Climate of Fear?'

May 18, 2016
Flickr/Jan Paul Yap (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard: A viral video was making the rounds, showing a 12-year-old girl body slammed by a police officer in a San Antonio school. That officer has since been fired, but the incident raised concerns about 

Image via Flickr/Ricardo S. Nava (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson last August, the reputation and trust afforded to police officers nationwide has been questioned. Smartphone videos and body cameras have changed everything.

Despite the perception of an increase in complaints about the use of police force, the Dallas Police Department claims a dramatic drop in the number of complaints.

 


Image via Flickr/tattoodjay (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

While it's no longer news that some law enforcement officers abuse the power that comes with the badge, the numbers revealed in a new Associated Press report are shocking: a thousand officers lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sexual assault, possession of child pornography and propositioning citizens. In his investigation, reporter Matt Sedensky found that the reported rate is much lower than what's actually happening.


Image via Flickr/Jerald Jackson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard: There are lots of reasons people choose not to live in the cities where they work: cheaper housing, better schools, personal safety, or just wanting some distance between you and the 9-to-5.


Joey Palacios/TPR

The FBI is now monitoring an investigation of a fatal, videotaped shooting involving two Bexar County sheriff's deputies. Some neighbors of the man who died in the San Antonio subdivision of Walnut Pass are on edge.

Update: Denton Police have discontinued an AMBER Alert for a missing 4-year-old boy. But Ricardo Lara has not been found yet.

Police say the investigation no longer fits requirements to continue the Amber Alert – though they are still pursing all leads to find the child.

Police still believe Lara is with his father – 23-year-old Ricardo Martinez. The two were last seen in Denton on Friday afternoon. Martinez is also a suspect in the murder of Lara’s mother.

Original Story (Dec. 15, 2014, 6:04 a.m.): Law enforcement officers across the state are keeping an eye out for a missing 4-year-old boy.

Dozens of congressional staff members walked out of the Capitol at 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday, in a show of support for protesters angered by recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

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