AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas law enforcement agencies are speaking out after officers in New York and Florida were killed over the weekend. Detectives believe the incidents are connected to anger after grand juries did not indict officers involved in the death of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo sent out an email to officers telling them to put the Tribute of Mourning Ribbon on badges. He also told them to “remain vigilant and exercise appropriate officers safety tactics” even though there have been no specific threats against the department.
In a statement sent out Monday morning, he also said he sends his prayers to the fallen officers’ families, colleagues and extended communities. He also addressed the violence saying, “The unprovoked brutal shooting deaths of two NYPD officers and an officer in Tarpon Springs, Fl, in a 24-hour span highlights the inherent dangers faced by American Peace Officers.
We urge our police colleagues and communities to engage in a conversation that is less antagonistic and richer in healing. The Austin Police Department and the community we serve have practiced this philosophy in word and deed, and as a result we enjoy working and living in a city, which despite its rapid growth, remains one of the safest in our nation,” Said Chief Art Acevedo in a statement.
Cedar Park Police Chief said he was shocked and saddened to hear what had happened to the officers over the weekend. He said he sent out a similar message to his officers.
“Civil protests are fine, the first amendment is there for protected speech and there’s nothing wrong with people gathering to talk about what they’re happy or unhappy about, but violent actions is not an alternative,” said Mannix.
The chief said there are real anti-police and government feelings through certain parts of the country, but feels support from the Central Texas community. Still, he said he told his officers to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
The Austin Police Association said it wasn’t suprirsed by the attacks over the weekend given the rhetoric lately. APA President, Wayne Vincent who retires next week, said he appreciated Chief Acevedo defending police and called on politicians to do more to keep officers safe.