APA: Staffing and training all factors in unarmed teen's death

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Photo Courtesy: FOX 7 Bridget Spencer

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo responds to statement made by Austin Police Association:

The president of the Austin Police Association is speaking out after last Monday's deadly shooting of unarmed teen David Joseph.

APA President Ken Casaday said proper police officer staffing could have prevented the killing.

The APA released this statement to FOX 7.

Although the facts of Last Monday's incident have not been fully investigated, one question has risen above all others.

Why didn't this officer use another option in dealing with this situation?

Our department is currently over 145 police officers short. That number is only going to continue to go up.  Most of these vacancies are on patrol, where staffing is vital to insure that officers have more options when forced to make split second decisions.

Our inability to hire officers has led to this shortage.

For months we have responded to complaints from Patrol Shifts about not having funds to hire overtime officers to fill vacancies caused by this shortage. We have gone to this administration and asked them over and over to deal with this problem before a tragedy occurs.

Nothing has happened.

The Chief prides himself on always coming in under budget, even if means that shifts go out there understaffed. He expects us to be safe and keep the community safe, without sufficient backup.

The Austin Fire Department operates at 100 percent staffing every day of the year.  Why not the Austin Police Department.

Better staffing leads to more options for officers on dangerous calls.

Our administration has been saving dollars and it looks like it may have cost a life.

The Austin Police Association is formally requestiong an independent audit of the Austin Police Department's patrol staffing and officer staffing model for the last two years.  This could provide valuable insight into this tragedy and how we make our community safer in the future.

Our officers are required by the State Of Texas to take one day of training on defense tactics every two years.  This quite simply is not enought to stay tactically sound.  We train every month on firearms. So, why don't we train monthly on defense tactics?
I've made the statement in the past that we receive the best training possible at our Police Academy. I stand by that statement! However. defense tactics are a perishable skill. I am calling on the department enhance defensive tactic training for officers assigned to patrol.  I know Chief Acevedo expects the best from his officers. If he truly does, then we need to provide them with the training they need, regardless of the cost.

The Police Association is backing up Officer Geoffrey Freeman but are pointing the finger at Austin Police Department Administration.

Last Monday, Officer Freeman found the teen naked in the middle of the road in Northwest Austin. Investigators said Joseph charged Freeman and that's when he fired shots out of view of his dash camera.

Casaday said APD is 145 officers short and believes if Officer Freeman had backup, the outcome may have been different.

In reaction to this shooting he is requesting an audit on APD spanning the last two years .Casaday said he has brought this to Chief Art Acevedo's attention many times before.

"The chief prides himself on always coming under budget , even if it means shifts go understaffed. He expects us to be safe and keep the community safe without sufficient backup. The Austin Fire Department operates at 100 percent, why not the Austin Police Department”? Casaday said.

As far the investigation, David Joseph's toxicology have not come in yet.