Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Austin city council says no to vampire cops

The Austin city council passed a resolution this past week stating that it is the council's "clear will" that Austin police officers not personally take blood specimens from motorists arrested for driving while intoxicated. Council members originally sought a vote on a proposal that would have directed the city manager to block officers from collecting such samples from drivers.

After being told by the Austin City Attorney's Office that such a proposal would conflict with provisions in the criminal code authorizing officers to use all lawful means to enforce the law, the council decided to vote on the non-binding resolution.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo told the city council that the department had abandoned plans to train officers to become licensed phlebotomists.

The new resolution directs the City Manager to develop clear guidelines by February 2010 for the collection of blood specimens by Austin police. Meanwhile, the Austin Police Department is in talks with the Travis County Sheriff's Office about training personnel at the county jail to draw blood from DWI suspects.

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