Law Enforcement | KERA News

Law Enforcement

Julia Reihs/KUT

Horror stories of untested, long-forgotten and even moldy sexual assault evidence kits have been a problem in Texas for years. And those forgotten kits have been on Becky O’Neal’s mind for a long time.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill that will aim to eliminate the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits in Texas.

Teacher Njera Keith was walking into the Austin Public Library's Carver Branch with a 6-year-old student in February when they saw a male police officer patting down 13-year-old LaTashia Milligam. The teenager was handcuffed and had no shoes on.

In this July 21, 2015 file photo, Jeanette Williams places a bouquet of roses at a memorial for Sandra Bland near Prairie View A&M University, in Prairie View, Texas.
Associated Press

Cellphone video recorded by Sandra Bland, a black woman found dead in a Texas jail in 2015 following a confrontational traffic stop, shows for the first time her perspective as a white state trooper draws his stun gun and points it at close range while ordering her out of the car.

File photo provided by the Mesquite Police Department of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, taken Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.
Associated Press

The former Dallas police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in his own home told a 911 dispatcher "I thought it was my apartment" nearly 20 times as she waited for emergency responders to arrive, according to a 911 recording obtained by TV station WFAA.

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.

San Francisco officials plan to expunge more than 9,000 marijuana convictions dating back to 1975, the city's highest law enforcement official said Monday.

Shutterstock

With the legislature at work in Austin, constituencies of all kinds are working to make their wants and needs clear. The Texas Municipal Police Association’s executive editor, Kevin Lawrence, says his wish list focused less on what he wants from lawmakers, but what he hopes they won’t do.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says his department will stop serving "no knock" search warrants, weeks after a raid on a house left two married suspects dead and five officers injured. Acevedo also reiterated that the officer who led that raid may face criminal charges.

"The no-knock warrant's going to go away, kind of like leaded gasoline in our city," Acevedo said. He added that raids that stem from those warrants would only be used in very limited cases — and that they would not be used to nab people suspected of dealing small amounts of drugs.

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. 

'Ballistic Fingerprint' Database Expands Amid Questions About Its Precision

Jan 16, 2019
Portland Police Officer Ray Kerridge searches a car after she and gang enforcement officers found three people in a car with loaded guns in front of a high school homecoming football game in Portland, Ore.
Jonathan Levinson / Oregon Public Broadcasting

At the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct, Officer Jason Hubert is getting ready to fire a confiscated handgun into a thick metal bullet trap filled with a thick sludge called snake oil.

Dallas Police officers console each other after the funeral for Dallas Police Officer Officer Rogelio Santander at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas on May 1, 2018. Santander was shot and killed at a Home depot in Dallas.
Associated Press

More police officers have died in the line of duty this year in the United States than in 2017, according to data released Thursday. The most common cause of death was gunfire, and vehicular accidents claimed nearly as many officers' lives.

The San Antonio Police Department is exploring the option of releasing low-level offenders instead of arresting them on site.


America's Growing Cop Shortage

Dec 12, 2018

It's a fall Monday morning in New Haven, Conn., and Officer Christian Bruckhart has lost track of how many calls he has had. He thinks it has been six. Maybe seven.

Christopher Scott, wrongfully convicted of murder in Dallas, was exonerated in 2009. He spent 12 years in prison.
Allison V. Smith

The statistics are startling: If you’re a black man in America, you’re five times as likely to go to state prison as a white man. Latinos and African Americans make up one-third of the U.S. population; they make up two-thirds of the prison population.

You can’t talk about incarceration without talking about race. Christopher Scott knows that too well.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Law enforcement groups call civil asset forfeiture a vital tool in the war on drugs. Critics on the left and the right say it’s a practice prone to abuse, and it needs to be curtailed. The process allows law enforcement agents to take property and cash they suspect is related to criminal activity.

Christopher Connelly/KERA News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he wants to classify attacks on police as hate crimes. The idea has the backing of law enforcement groups, but it’s raised some concerns among advocates for hate crimes legislation.

Charley Wilkison says police officers feel like they have a target on their backs. He’s the head of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. That feeling, he says, started long before cops were gunned down in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Dallas Police Shooting Town Hall

Aug 27, 2012

There have been 16 police shootings in Dallas this year, 8 of them fatal. One of them in South Dallas sparked angry protests. A month later, Police Chief David Brown faced concerned citizens at a town hall meeting.