Austin police officer in ’emotional distress’ has gone missing

FILE - Austin police vehicle (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Austin police vehicle (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin police officer in emotional distress has been reported missing, the police department said they learned Tuesday.

Due to his mental state, a statewide BOLO — “be on the lookout” — was issued for the officer’s vehicle, after family members and fellow officers were unable to find him. Wednesday, his truck was located on the border at Lake Amistad in Val Verde County, about 150 miles west of San Antonio.

Local law enforcement agencies are actively searching for the officer.

“Anytime you hear something like this, you always think of the worst and hope for the best,” said Ken Casaday, the president of the Austin Police Association. “Right now it’s not looking real good, but you always try to hold out hope.”

Casaday says stress is often a symptom of the job of a police officer.

“Unfortunately, these things don’t surprise me. These things happen on a fairly regular basis — maybe not to the extent of this — but, every week we deal with first responders that have drug and alcohol dependency, or issues with psychological issues; whether it’s from a call or from their own personal lives.”

He said officers are used to dealing with this, but it never makes cases like these easy.

“Police officers are usually fairly private people. They deal with everyone else’s issues at work. So, when they get home, they want to be kind of to themselves and their families. Most of the time, you’ll never even have a sign that it was coming.”

Casaday says it is imperative that law enforcement know the resources available to them, in dealing with the stress that comes with carrying the badge.

“If you need help, our victims services counselors are available. We have chaplains that work with APD. We have a pretty extensive group of people that work with us. If you need help, you have to ask for help,” he said. “My hope at the end of this is that we’re able to find this person… and sometimes you’re able to get him back in the fold, [and] work with them.”

APD has not yet released the identity of the police officer.

Casaday says the association is waiting for more definitive news before they make any additional comments on the matter.

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