by Shelton Green / KVUE NEWSDate: 02-04-2010
“We’ve analyzed from the police department perspective what our peak hours are in terms of need, in terms of when we need the coverage, the on duty coverage and then where would be more appropriate in the off-peak hours to have an on-call program for civilian phlebotomist”, said Chief Acevedo.
The :No Refusal” weekends started in Austin on Halloween 2008.
In 2009 Chief Acevedo’s plan to use federal grant money to train APD officers to draw blood was canned.
“We had hoped that by garnering the support of just about every political organization in Central Texas, Travis County Republican Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Green Party, NAACP, LULAC and a few others that the city council would have seen that people were opposed to not only the police officer administered blood withdrawals, but the no refusal weekend as well but unfortunately the city bureaucracy got in the way of the people and here we are today still waiting for guidelines”, said John Bush with Texans For Accountable Government.
Debbie Russell, the President of the ACLU.Central Texas Chapter told KVUE, “I’m not sure it’s the best use of resources but we’d much rather have medically trained professionals doing this than officers who would only receive a very minimal amount of training and would increase the liability for the city, as well as keep them from actually being on the streets”, she said.
APD and Travis County Sheriff deputies will hammer out a plan on Friday which they’ll take to both the Austin City Manager and the Travis County Commissioner’s Court. From there, it will go to the Austin City Council for approval.
No refusal for Super Bowl weekend starts Sunday at 9 p.m. and goes through early Monday morning.