by Reagan Hackleman / NEWS 8 AUSTIN
Source: News 8 Austin
Austin City Council is reconsidering APD’s blood draw policy. Austin City Council will decide whether or not Austin police officers should be allowed to draw the blood of suspected drunk drivers, and one newly-elected council member is leading the charge.
“We’re putting both the police officer and the suspect in a dangerous situation,” Councilmember Bill Spelman said.
Spelman and his staff are drafting an ordinance that would prevent officers from taking blood.
“Drawing blood is like fixing a carburetor. If you do it all the time, you’re pretty good at. But, if you only do it once in a while, you’re not so good at it. What we really ought to be doing, is when we draw blood from people, is making sure that blood is drawn by someone who is licensed professional,” Spelman said.
Since starting blood draws, APD has used a phlebotomist at the Travis County Jail and hospital staff to collect the blood, but that didn’t last long.
News 8’s City Reporter Reagan Hackleman explains who the chief wants to train, and why that has some on the city council worried.
“The sheriff’s department got out of the blood draw business. Hospitals where refusing to draw blood and where did that leave us?” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
According to the chief, that left him looking at the option of training his officers, but he’s pretty sure that option is now off the table.
“I just had a meeting with some of the hospital officials and the sheriff. The sheriff has indicated a willingness to get back into the blood draw business,” Chief Acevedo said.
Acevedo said now there’s no reason for the council to move forward with the ordinance, but Spelman disagrees. He and the mayor still want to make sure officers won’t be drawing blood anytime soon.