Police Chief Art Acevedo -- What does it take to get a police report in Austin??Most of us know Frankie (Heather) Frankovis as a leader and a contributing part of the cycling community.  On July 31, 2014, at approximately 8:00 p.m., Frankie was riding on her way to the Thursday Night Social Ride when a person darted out from behind a parked car and ran directly into her on her bicycle, causing her serious and violent injuries. As a result, Frankie had to have immediate surgery to repair her badly-damaged collar bone. She has screws and plates as part of the open reduction internal fixation procedure she underwent to repair the damage caused by the jaywalker.

There were approximately 20 witnesses to this event. Fire Department and EMS arrived on scene and the police were called. The police provided Frankie with a police report number; only, there was no police report written at the time. This means useful information and investigative facts have been squandered.

Frankie patiently reached out to the police department expecting they would provide a report and provided great leave for them to prepare it. When it never did get prepared, she reached out to Police Chief Art Acevedo. In his usual course he directed it to a Lieutenant, someone under him, to deal with.

The lieutenant responded to Frankie that this is not the sort of incident generally requiring a report be written because there was no criminal activity. WHAT? Seriously?!

The police provided Frankie with a report number, made her think and feel they were doing their job, taking witness information, and investigating the crash. But, they were not. According to the Austin Police Department Policy Manual Effective 5-25-2014 and consistent with §342.1 et seq. this is a situation that would require a police report.

Just last semester a jogger was arrested for jaywalking and stuffed into a police car. Why? She refused to give her identification after committing the heinous infraction of jaywalking. Click this link for a refresher in the “other cities citizens are sexually assaulted” comment.

So, we got involved and asked Chief Acevedo to explain exactly what APD considers an event that would in fact require a report. He has refused to respond.

See the exchanges between Frankie and the Chief, the Lieutenant and Frankie, and our office to the Chief below.  Austin city cyclists, we must demand better, we deserve better. Frankie deserves to know who her assailant was and that the police care about allowing her the same criminal and civil protections as anyone else. So, Chief Acevedo, what does it take to get a police report around here?

From: Frankie Frankovis
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2014 2:50 PM
To: Acevedo, Art
Subject: Heather Frankovis – Bike incident with injury

Hello Art,

My name is Frankie and I am one of the organizers of the Thursday Night Social Ride and Social Cycling Austin. I was on my way to the Thursday Night Social Ride and had a bad bike wreck on July 31st when a pedestrian darted into the street from behind a parked van in front of 320 Comal. He gave me no time to react and we collided hard. I sustained a snapped clavicle that needed expensive reconstructive surgery (titanium plate, etc.). I have contacted Sgt Harper’s phone several times because he is the responding officers Sgt. and only got voicemail, where I have left two voicemails. Officer Griffin was the responding officer amongst a firetruck and 20 people watching the scene. I am writing you because officer Griffin has still not written a report after I have called the Sgt and the Traffic reporting office several times one month after the event happened.

The traffic incident number is 14-2121710.

My name is Heather Frankovis Address of event 300-320 block of Comal South bound. Although I landed in the middle of the street. Happened on Thursday, July 31st around 8pm

Somebody caused me injury that is affecting my life very adversely and I don’t even know his name because there is no report.

I am a very influential person in the community because I have been volunteering and leading bike related events since 2009. I am not allowed to ride my bike for two more months or lead any community rides. I have been patient enough but since nobody is doing their job on this matter I thought I would reach out to you directly. I am a fan of yours and follow you on Twitter, so I thought that you could help me find out why a report hasn’t been written. What this shows the cycling community is that if you get hurt by somebody else while on your bike the APD doesn’t care enough to even write up the damn report. I believe that the jerk who did this was in the commission of a crime (trying to buy drugs) but I can’t prove it.

Anyway, Please make Officer Griffin write up a report that includes the person’s name who did this to me.

Thank you, Frankie

From: Acevedo, Art
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2014 5:17 PM
To: ‘Frankie Frankovis’
Cc: McGowan, Tyson; APD Chiefs
Subject: RE: Heather Frankovis – Bike incident with injury

Thanks for reaching out. Lieutenant Tyson McGowan who is my Administrative Lieutenant and an avid cyclist will be looking into this matter and getting back to you and briefing me.  I hope you are well on your way to mending.  McGowan is copied here and will be in touch.

Please feel free to call me if you require further.

Regards,

AA

On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 2:02 PM, McGowan, Tyson wrote:

Ms. Frankovis,

Thank you very much for your patience!  This issue has been addressed and the incident report is now in our system and available.  I’ve included below information on how to obtain a police report as well as the website address where this information is available.

The report number is 14-2121710.

Thank you!

In most cases the public portion of police reports can be obtained from the APD Incident Report Database. Please read the instructions on how to obtain the report. Make sure to enter the case number exactly how it is shown in the instructions.

For information about purchasing a copy of the public portion of a police report contact the Austin Police Department Report Sales Unit at 512-974-5407 or 512-974-5408. Reports can be purchased at the Main Police Headquarters, located at 715 E 8th Street. Reports are 10 cents a copy and only the public portion is available for purchase from the report sales office. This is the same report that can be obtained from visiting the APD Incident Report Database. Report Sales hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Lt. Tyson L. McGowan
Austin Police Department
Staff Lieutenant
P.O. Box 689001
Austin, TX 78768-9001
Office: 512-974-5302
Fax:  512-974-6611
Pager:  512-802-4807
E-mail: tyson.mcgowan@austintexas.gov

From: Frankie Frankovis
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2014 3:26 PM
To: McGowan, Tyson
Cc: Acevedo, Art; Singletary, Antonia
Subject: Re: Heather Frankovis – Bike incident with injury

Hello Lt. McGowan,

I have tried to pull up the report using the case number with no dash as indicated, but I am getting zero responses. I have also tried doing an advanced search and also pulled up zero results.

Is there anyway you could send me a link to the report?

Thank you,

Frankie

From:  McGowan, Tyson 
Date: Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 4:17 PM
Subject: RE: Heather Frankovis – Bike incident with injury
To: Frankie Frankovis
Cc: “Acevedo, Art” <Art.Acevedo@austintexas.gov>, “Singletary, Antonia” <Antonia.Singletary@austintexas.gov>

Mrs. Frankovis,

My apologies for any confusion!  The report was entered into our system today; however, I spoke with our Central Records Department and they advised that it will take 48 hrs. before the report will be available in the public APD Incident Reports Database.  The reason for this 48 hr. delay is to allow them time to redact any sensitive information that we are prohibited by law from releasing to the public; which includes, but is not limited to, name, identifying information and address of witnesses, victims and suspects.  If you need information that is not available in the report that is publically available, you will need to file an Open Records Request.  This can be done by sending your request to management.records@austintexas.gov.

In response to your inquiry about the report itself, Ofc. Griffin did not initially complete a report since the incident was not one that would normally require that an incident report be written.  The officer responded to a call to assisted EMS; however, no criminal offense had been committed.  I did however, request that a report be written in this instance.

Lt. Tyson L. McGowan
Austin Police Department
Staff Lieutenant
P.O. Box 689001
Austin, TX 78768-9001
Office: 512-974-5302
Fax:  512-974-6611
Pager:  512-802-4807
E-mail: tyson.mcgowan@austintexas.gov

Subject: Police Report, Policy Clarification, Please address
From: lenore@cyclistlaw.com
Date: Thu, Sep 11, 2014 6:37 am
To: art.acevedo@austintexas.gov
Cc: “Frankie Frankovis”

Chief Acevedo,

Realizing you are indeed busy and this matter was assigned to the below responding Lt. we are seeking further clarification. As you are aware, Ms. Frankie Frankovis was careened into by a jaywalker that ran into the path of moving traffic. As a result of the jaywalkers actions, Ms. Frankovis was seriously injured requiring open reduction internal fixation surgery to repair her collar bone.

The stupefying response from Lt. McGowan indicates that this is not the sort of incident that would generally require a report? What on earth does that mean? Chief, when a cyclist is hit and injured by another violating traffic and safety laws it is our understanding that is exactly what is required to warrant an officer taking the time to investigate and write a report. If we are mistaken then please outline with specificity what exactly is different in this situation that would not have required a thorough investigation and a proper report. Thank you.  On behalf of Ms. Frankovis, we and the cycling community are anxiously awaiting your response.

Best regards,

Lenore Shefman

*Edited to clarify that Frankie was on her way to (not riding with) the TNSR when she was hit.

1 Comment Responses to What does it take to get a police report around here?
Cyclist upset with slow police response after collision | KXAN.com2014-09-16 15:05:40Reply
[…] process and that’s being constricted here,” said Lenore Shefman, a trial attorney with Shefman Law and Bike Texas Board member.  She is not representing Frankovis, but knows her from the cycling […]
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