Amigos En Azul prepares for annual Christmas community service

Amigos En Azul, Austin Police Department’s Hispanic community outreach program, is preparing for their annual event ‘Shop with a Cop,’ which provides about 50 local Hispanic elementary school students the opportunity to go Christmas shopping with an Austin Police Officer using funds provided by the organization. The students are selected by their schools based on need. The ‘Shop with a Cop’ program, along with others from the organization, have provided an excellent example of minority outreach by APD, bridging the gap to a population that is underserved. When asked about Amigos’ impact on the community, Senior Police Officer Luis Delgado III, Amigos’ President and 19 year member, had this to say:

The noticeable reaction from the community comes from various organizations and community leaders who have taken notice of our endeavors. So much so, that when the State Department questioned community leaders about which organizations were making a positive impact on the Hispanic community, our organization was consistently mentioned.

Amigos En Azul, or Friends in Blue, was founded in 1982 and has grown to include approximately 455 members, mostly Austin Police Officers. In addition to the Shop with a Cop program, Amigos En Azul provides scholarships to local high school students, encourages the consideration of Law Enforcement careers, and participates in numerous APD community outreach programs. Amigos En Azul has provided over $60,000 in scholarships to Hispanic students since the program began. Amigos’ funds are primarily provided by membership dues, the organization’s annual golf tournament, and support from Target, as well as local businesses.

I would like to close by saying that this is a personal endeavor taken up by the board, on their own personal time. We manage, coordinate, execute all our events on our off time. We do this after working our 40 hours in our assignments. But what I have found is that our active board members work not for the accolades or recognition, but to truly make a difference within our community.

       –  Senior Police Officer Luis Delgado III

While SPO Delgado and the rest of the Amigos En Azul board do not work for recognition, their efforts merit a great deal of respect and appreciation from the citizens of Austin.

This year’s date for Shop with a Cop is December 19th, 2013.

For more information on Amigos En Azul, please visit the Austin Police Department’s Amigos En Azul web page, located here.

Showin’ the Love to Our DRs

Citizens from all around Austin showed support for their APD District Representatives (DRs) in October by contacting City Council members to tell the Council that they did not want their DRs to be taken from their neighborhoods to work the downtown trails through the remainder of the pilot program. The Council had months earlier established trails open 24 hours/7 days for bicyclists and pedestrians in/near the downtown area requiring policing every day all day, but overtime pay was not provided. Because the council for many years has not approved budget funds to allow for adequate police staffing in Austin, APD had to pull officers in different units from around the city to patrol those areas, leaving fewer in areas which need their assigned officers.

Stats were collected showing that trail usage was an average of about 13 people each night. When citizens learned of this extremely low usage and that the DR officers in their neighborhoods who provide critically needed community policing services would continue to be pulled to work the trails . . . they took action. The Council was flooded with hundreds of phone calls and emails from around the city telling them how important the DRs are to the neighborhoods, how their services are vital to help neighbors, and that the citizens wanted to keep their DRs rather than having them pulled to work on different tasks. The Council responded by reinstating the curfew on the trails and APD agreed to allow the DRs to stay in their sectors. This situation demonstrated to the Council and APD the value that citizens place on the work done by their DRs, the benefits of community policing services they provide, and the esteem and respect citizens have for their District Reps. And a side benefit was that the DRs were assured that the residents of the areas where they work appreciate their efforts and believe in the services they provide.

For more information about APD’s District Representatives program, please follow this link.

APD Receives Nine Donated K9 Vests

The Austin Police Department has received nine donated K9 vests from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. (VIK9s). The vests, Level II Spike II Gemini by Armor Express located in Michigan, are valued at $2,800 each. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. receives a government contract price and is able to purchase them for $950.  They protect the K9 units from ballistic and stab wounds. The generous donation was made to VIK9s by PetArmor, the maker of flea and tick products and will equip all nine of Austin’s K9 units.

Vested Interest in K9s is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based out of East Taunton, Massachusetts. Since its inception in 2009, VIK9s has donated over 454 vests to law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The funds for the vests are provided by donations which are collected through various fundraisers as well as standalone contributions. VIK9s also encourages holding fundraisers to pay for a K9 vest, where they allow the organizer to specify which law enforcement agency the vest will be donated to.

The K9 units are currently adjusting to the vests. Officer Jimmie Davenport, currently working with Wiley (pictured above), stated: “We are incorporating them into our training regimen. As with anything new, there is a period of adjustment to work out the kinks. Dogs being dogs, some accept it without issue and others not as readily.”

Officer Davenport also had this to add in regards to VIK9s: “I’m moved that there are people who are concerned for our partners to the point of providing such a vital piece of equipment to us. I hope to never “need” the vest’s protection.  But it’s reassuring knowing it’s available to us.  Again, we are grateful and humbled for being provided these vests for our partners.”

Anyone who is interested in VIK9s is encouraged to visit their Facebook page, Twitter Feed, LinkedIn profile, and Google+ page. Donations can also be submitted through VIK9s’s main website.

 

A 3-minute video about one of APD’s K9 units can be found here.

APD Hosting Women’s Recruiting Event

 

APD Women's Recruiting

Always thought of as a job for men, more and more women are choosing police work. The Austin Police Department currently has 171 female officers and is looking for more women to join the ranks. To encourage more female applicants, APD is hosting a Women in Law Enforcement recruiting event onSaturday, October 19, 2013.

Topics include application and training requirements, balancing home and work life, and career paths and promotion opportunities. APD Recruiting staff will be on hand to speak with interested applicants. Speakers include APD Assistant Chief Jessica Robledo, who started with APD in 1988 and rose through the ranks to her current role, in which she oversees the Special Operations (SWAT and Bomb Squad), Specialized Patrol and Special Events, Highway Enforcement, Communications, and Victims’ Services Divisions.

“Women bring their own uniqueness and style to a male-dominated profession,” Robledo said. “I would tell any woman interested in becoming a law enforcement officer to not let fear of the unknown paralyze you from achieving your dreams.”

Women in Law Enforcement Recruiting Event: Are you APD Strong?
Saturday, October 19, 2013
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cornerstone Church, 1101 Reinli, Austin, TX

APD Recruiting Lieutenant Gerardo Gonzalez said that having women on the force is essential. “APD understands the value women bring to law enforcement and we are looking for strong, committed, women to join our team and help us remain the most professional law enforcement agency in the nation.”

Austin is a fast-growing, diverse community and APD offers a competitive benefits package including health and life insurance, vacation and sick time, retirement and many career opportunities. To learn about how to be APD Strong, visit apdrecruiting.org, email recruiting@austintexas.gov or call 512-974-4211.

79th CPA Class Begins

September 17 was the first night of the newest session of the APD’s Citizen Police Academy with almost 40 people registered to attend the session that will conclude with graduation on December 17, 2013.  The class members were welcomed by SPO Jermaine Kilgore, who assumed duties as the CPA Coordinator early this year.  As of June 2013, a total of 1,910 citizens have completed the Academy which was implemented in 1987.

A meal of pizza, drinks, and cookies was provided by the Austin CPA Alumni Association whose President, Melinda Rodriguez, welcomed all to the class and assured them that they would benefit greatly by what they learn.  She invited them to become members of the Alumni Association and to extend their knowledge of APD operations with volunteer opportunities available through the Association.  Several members of the ACPAAA were present at the meeting to visit with class attendees and welcome them.

Officer Kilgore briefly reviewed the agendas for the 13 weeks of classes this session and announced that ride outs with patrol officers for the class would be done in late October and early November.  He thanked the class members for their participation and commitment to the Academy.

Austin CPAAA Members Participate in Annual Statewide Convention

Three members of the Austin Alumni Association traveled to Arlington, Texas, to participate in the annual training convention July 24 – 27, 2013, for Citizen Police Academy (CPA) members and law enforcement personnel throughout Texas.  The convention draws hundreds of attendees from both large and small cities and towns to participate in educational sessions to learn new techniques and processes, share ideas, and get suggestions on how to strengthen and enhance citizen and law enforcement programs and agencies.  Convention attendees were welcomed by the Mayor and Police Chief of the City of Arlington and enjoyed the many learning opportunities provided.
Melinda Rodriguez, Dee Mickelson, and Susan Reed represented the Austin CPAAA and participated in varied sessions as Electronic Crimes Cyber-based Attacks, First Responder to a Crisis Situation, Texas Weapons Law, the Dallas Terrorist Bombing Incident, Solving a Murder, Active Shooter, Stranger Danger Adult Style, 501(c)(3) Operation, and Racial Profiling.  In addition, one of the most valuable sessions attended was the CPA Roundtable where topic tables were facilitated by CPA Coordinators from around Texas to provide specific information on successful activities / programs and to encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences among Alumni members.  Among the topics were Meeting Topics and Speakers, Community Projects, and Fund Raisers.
The final session, “Chiefs’ Round Table,” was held on July 27, and included police chiefs and sheriffs from about eight communities in the North Texas area who addressed how they support and manage many of the activities, initiatives, and programs that are conducted by their CPA and Citizens On Patrol (COP) organizations. Recurring comments from the law enforcement officials regarding their CPA / COP programs were (1) the high degree of ability and talent available in their volunteers and utilizing these individuals in many ways throughout their departments; and (2) using CPA / COP programs to help law enforcement agencies be a part of the community rather than a segregated para-military organization separated from the citizens.
The 2014 Texas CPAAA Convention will be held in San Marcos.  Members of the Austin CPAAA are encouraged to attend.

Austin Police Adds Third Helicopter to Fleet

SPD AS350September 6th, 2013:

Chief Acevedo unveiled the latest addition to the APD Air Unit: a Eurocopter AS350 B3e. This is the third helicopter to be used by the Austin Police Department.

The AS350 B3e includes a number of compelling features and technologies that will benefit the department, including ergonomic cockpit, low vibration levels (ideal for equipment), and law-enforcement specific equipment.

The model is also known for its high maneuverability and suitability for high-speed pursuits.

Additional equipment to the AS350 B3e includes:

  • Bambi buckets (for fire-fighting capabilities to assist Austin Fire Department)
  • Infrared Thermal Imaging System
  • Moving Map with Zoom and GPS
  • Tracker for following or locating stolen property or vehicles
  • Gyro-stabilized binoculars
  • Simultaneous multiple channel police radio
  • Second battery kit
  • Air conditioning system
  • Cargo hook

National Night Out 30th Anniversary

NNOPoster2013F__2_October 1st, 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of National Night Out!

All Austin residents are invited and encouraged to participate with their neighborhoods in this national event! There are two parts to the event:

First, there is free a Kick-Off Party from 5 P.M. to 7 P.M. at Barton Creek Square Mall, in the North Downtown Overlook Parking Lot. There will be food, games, crime prevention tips, and drawings for school supplies. All are invited to participate!

From 7 P.M. to 9 P.M., events such as cookouts, block parties and neighborhood walks will occur simultaneously throughout the City of Austin and nationwide. Citizens are asked to turn on their porch lights, lock their doors and spend the evening outside with their neighbors, City Council Members, police officers, firefighters, EMS paramedics and Code Compliance.

National Night Out is designed to:

  • · Promote crime and drug prevention awareness.
  • · Generate support and participation in crime prevention efforts.
  • · Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police/community relations.
  • · Get involved in your neighborhood community.
  • · Let criminals know that neighborhoods are organized and residents are fighting back.

If you would like for you neighborhood to participate, neighborhood applications are due September 13, 2013 at 5 P.M. Applications can be found here or can be e-mailed, faxed or sent in the mail upon request by calling 512-974-4900. Visit APD’s main site listing for more information.

Watch 122nd Cadet Class Training

122nd Cadet ClassAPD and Austin Channel 6 are bringing the experience of the Austin Police Department Cadet Academy to the public in an 9-episode miniseries about the intense trainings cadets must endure in order to become officers with APD.

Previous episodes are also available on YouTube:

“The Austin Police Department is extremely honored to be showcasing the world class training our men and women must go through during cadet training. We hope this series will provide an opportunity for people to see the comprehensive training provided at APD and we hope that this will encourage residents to consider the Austin Police Department as a future place to work.”

– APD Chief Art Acevedo

 

Help Support APD for Fiscal Year 2013-2014

To all Austin residents, please read the following message regarding Austin City Council’s vote next week on adding 92 new police officers to the Austin Police Department:

A message from Pam Willeford, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission:

Next week, the Austin City Council is expected to adopt the FY 2013-2014 budget.

The Greater Austin Crime Commission is urging the city council to support the police department’s FY 2013–2014 budget request for additional sworn positions. The ninety-two new officers in the proposed budget and the police department’s “unmet service demands” include forty-seven to maintain staffing level standards based on population growth and forty-five toward the recent patrol utilization study recommendations.

If you have not already done so, please take the time to communicate with council members and voice your support for additional police manpower. Click here to send an e-mail message to the mayor and council members.

Keeping Austin one of the nation’s safest large cities will require determined leadership and difficult budget decisions. Everyone recognizes that resources are limited and tax revenue is unpredictable. However, the need for additional police officers is evident as the city struggles with the demands of rapid growth, increasing property crime, special events, and the threat of transnational narcotics organizations.

Another important factor in a city that prides itself on civic engagement is the “uncommitted time” available for officers to participate in community-oriented policing activities, such as crime prevention and neighborhood programs. According to the most recent workload analysis, uncommitted patrol time has dropped to 15 percent and is well below the range (30–45) recommended for effective community policing, which builds trust, creates partnerships, and curbs crime.

Thank you for supporting public safety in our community.

Regards,

Pam Willeford

Please take the time to show your support for the Austin Police Department!