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Austin wants officers to stick needles in drunk drivers

Austin wants officers to stick needles in drunk drivers

KXAN
July 1, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas – 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. he added.

“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.

 

DNC protests will be behind fence

Denver Post
June 30, 2008


The fence around the public demonstration zone outside the Democratic National Convention will be chicken wire or chain link, authorities revealed in U.S. District Court today.

That may allow protestors to be seen and heard by delegates going in and out of the Pepsi Center during the convention.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and several advocacy groups have filed an amended complaint to their lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service and the city and county of Denver that says protestors and demonstrators may have their First Amendment rights violated by security restrictions.

The ACLU has said it wants to avoid the conditions that existed during the 2004 convention in Boston, where protesters were caged, infuriating First Amendment advocates.

Read Full Article Here

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