|APD chief wants officers to draw blood on DWIs
NBC | June 30, 2008 (Updated: July 1, 2008)
AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) -- Austin's police chief has a new idea to draw
your blood if you refuse a Breathalyzer test.
Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo is hoping to start the program
this year with a federal grant. It would train his DWI officers to take
you to jail and get a search warrant for your blood.
"My intent in the future is to make it so there is no such thing as
a refusal. You can refuse all you want, but we are going to aggressively
seek search warrants," said Acevedo.
The search warrant would give an officer the right to stick a needle
in your arm to get a blood alcohol level, replacing the job of a jail nurse.
"It's about saving money for the taxpayer. If I have an officer that's
already involved in a case, they're already going to be going to court.
Come to find out, the defense attorneys around here are telling people
not to give them a test," said Acevedo.
"Folks that are exercising their right shouldn't be afraid, that by
doing so, 'Bubba Police Officer' may stick them in the arm," said Austin
DWI attorney Ken Gibson. Police officers shouldn't play nurse as well.
"The officer's going to have a liability if they don't do it right.
The city's going to have a liability if they don't do it right. Police
officers don't want to be out sticking needles in people," said Gibson.
"If I could snap my fingers tomorrow and say, 'Hey, give me four to
five nurses on my staff,' I'd be more than happy to do it, but that's not
going to work," said Acevedo. Instead, Acevedo said he's got a whole fleet
of officers ready to train.
"Probably as many as I can get the federal government to train for
me," Acevedo said.
Austin Police Association President George Vanderhule learned about
the proposal Monday from KXAN Austin News. He said he did not want to comment
on behalf of his officers until he spoke with Acevedo.
Acevedo said he would not ask for taxpayer money in Austin but at the
federal level. He's hoping to start the program by the end of this year.