If something happens to a student, the question of whether they should report the incident to UTPD or APD to handle it is sometimes unclear. UTPD Capt. Gonzalo Gonzales, UTPD Detective Samantha Carter and APD Sgt. Alfred Trejo provide an explanation to concerns on this issue.
Guadalupe Street, which runs parallel to campus, is an area that began being aggressively patrolled by UTPD in 2014, something Gonzalez said has drastically decreased the amount of transients who frequent the area. The area past Guadalupe Street is where APD’s jurisdiction begins, although the scope of each agency is not so clear-cut since both collaborate on fighting crime in this overlapping area.
“To start this semester, [APD] got a hold of us [and] we were also in the process of trying to reach out to them, that they want to patrol with us on foot,” Gonzalez said, referencing Guadalupe Street and West Campus. “We have a full-time bicycle patrol unit and they have gotten to know the Austin police officers.”
Patrolling together has established a personal relationship between APD and UTPD, Gonzalez said. He added that this cooperative strategy is important to cracking down on criminal behavior, especially when it may fall under the purview of a city ordinance.
UTPD has the legal authority to enforce state law; however, it cannot enforce city ordinances, which mainly include Class C misdemeanors. If an APD officer is patrolling alongside a UTPD officer, he or she can issue a ticket that the UTPD officer would not be able to.
Incidents that take place in near-campus, APD-controlled areas but are reported to UTPD, are immediately relayed to APD, such as the ongoing case of a man exposing himself to women in West Campus.
“We forward the report to them so they can conduct the investigation,” Carter said. “Like with the exposures in West Campus, they have reports that they’re working on and they’re trying to see if they’re all related so we’ve been conversing with them and seeing what information they have.”
Weekly meetings are another aspect of the collaborative relationship between both police departments. APD Sgt. Alfred Trejo said this is where much of the information sharing on cases takes place, and provides a vehicle for each department to update the other on new incidents or developing crimes.
“UT police are always present … we basically go over what’s going on in West Campus,” Trejo said. “The meeting is a place where we exchange information, so that’s how we can constantly communicate with each other.”
Police radio is another channel for communication between the two agencies. Gonzalez said often times UTPD and APD will listen to each other’s radio frequencies to stay on par with developments in the area.
“For our officers, it’s very common that they’ll hear APD is looking for someone or doing something in the West Campus,” Gonzalez said. “We can be on the lookout for who they’re looking for or we can go and we can assist them.”
Regardless of where students are located, Gonzalez said to call 911 in a dangerous situation and the appropriate agency will be notified to respond.