AUSTIN (KXAN) – An Austin police officer has lost his job under Police Chief Art Acevedo‘s zero tolerance policy for Austin Police Department officers involved in DWIs. A disciplinary memo shows Ofc. Albert Arevalo had blood alcohol levels of .175 and .178 after he submitted to breath and blood tests – more than twice the legal limit.
The memo, dated Sept. 23, 2015, shows an Austin police officer stopped Arevalo early on the morning of May 21 for speeding in the 2400 block of North MoPac. Aravelo was off-duty at the time and told investigators he went out with his friends and the group went to six different bars having one drink at each over a four-hour span. The officer had been on paid administrative leave since his arrest.
“Aravelo stated he had made a series of bad decisions that night and he also acknowledged his awareness of the Chief of Police and the Department’s zero tolerance policy on Officer involved DWIs,” the memo reads. The chief’s policy was introduced in April 2014 and applies even if criminal charges were dismissed.
County court records show Aravelo has a hearing Oct. 2 for his DWI charge.
Asst. Police Chief Brian Manley tells KXAN the likely end of an officer’s career is tragic, but necessary. “I think the community expects it from us. And I think as the administrators of this Department we owe it back to the community to hold ourselves to the standard that we expect the community to be held to as well, Manley says.
“We see all too often the tragedies that occur on our roadways with drinking and driving fatalities and serious injuries. And so when we are the ones entrusted with enforcing the law we have to abide by those same laws,” he adds.
Aravelo signed the memo Wednesday which allows an appeal.
Ken Casaday the President of the Austin Police Association confirms to KXAN the firing will be taken to an arbitrator – a process which could take six months. He says Aravelo is a dedicated peace officer who had a role on the APD Honor Guard and worked on the department’s DWI enforcement team for three years.