The mission of the Abilene Police Department Patrol Division is to protect the lives and property of all citizens. The Division dedicates its personnel and material resources to maintaining public order and safeguarding the individual and constitutional rights of all persons.
The Patrol Division is the most visible unit within the Department. With more than one hundred officers and supervisors, the Division comprises more than sixty percent of the Department's authorized strength. The Division is the first responder to most calls for police service.
The Abilene Police Department Patrol Division works from a six company configuration with four, ten hour days, fixed shifts, and fixed days off. Each company is managed by a lieutenant who reports to a deputy chief. Each company contains two or three squads, and each squad is supervised by a sergeant. A squad includes several patrol officers who work the same days and hours. Actual duty hours and number of officers per squad varies by company and squad. Squad size and duty hours are determined by analyzing work load. Officer assignment within the squads is determined once a year by seniority.
A normal duty week for a patrol officer consists of four ten-hour days. Officers work Sunday through Wednesday, or Wednesday through Saturday. This means that all patrol companies are assigned to work on Wednesdays, and therefore it is the only work day that may have varying hours. As all patrol officers are on duty on Wednesdays, that day is used as a training day for officers and to fill in some areas that need help elsewhere in the department. This scheduling has provided our department with a consistent training day each week that we can use to give officers the latest techniques and information in the law enforcement field. Our officers are offered about five times the amount of annual in-service training required by the state for law enforcement officers. Other assignments used on these fully staffed Wednesdays include assistance to the Investigations, special patrols to target specific crimes or crime areas, serving warrants, and providing selected traffic enforcement.
The primary purposes of the Abilene Police Department Traffic Division are to make the streets and highways safer for the motoring public and to provide quality service for the citizens by maintaining or improving our current level of service in special functions, Neighborhood Improvement Programs, and safety programs. accident investigations, traffic enforcement, community beautification, and special functions.
The Traffic Division is a specialized unit designed to help relieve the Patrol Division from most of the responsibilities of traffic related incidents and events. By providing specially trained personnel at needed time periods, this unit aids the Department's overall resources to achieve the desired objectives.
The Traffic Division consists of one Sergeant, two Hit and Run Investigators, three Traffic Officers, four Motorcycle Officers and one civilian Impound Facility Coordinator. Duty shifts are staggered to gave traffic officers on the street from 7:00 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Each sworn officer is trained in the latest, state-of-the-art techniques of accident investigation, and the division has several Accident Reconstruction Specialists. All division officers rotate a weekly, on-call 24 hours-a-day status, enabling a two-man team of Traffic Investigators to respond to all motor vehicle accidents involving fatalities, potential fatalities and felony Hit and Runs. Officers are not only responsible for accident investigations, but are also responsible for:
The Abilene Police Department formed its canine unit in January 1996 after several public fund raising projects. Four dogs were purchased from the Tracking Dog Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands and delivered in mid February. All of the dogs are German Shepherds, with two coming from West Germany and two from The Czech Republic.
The dogs are trained for handler protection, narcotics search, tracking, and evidence search. They are all certified through the U.S. Police Canine Association.
The Tactical Team is made up of the SWAT Team (Special Weapons and Tactics), HNT Team (Hostage Negotiations Team), and Fire Medics. The Team works together as one unit to handle high risk enforcement situations such as hostage situations, suicidal subjects and high risk search warrants. The goal of the team is always the protection of life.
The SWAT team is a part time unit comprised of officers from various divisions and sections of the department. SWAT members are on call 24/7 and maintain the highest level of physical fitness. The team trains every week on a variety of situations which include physical shooting scenarios, dynamic entries, building clearings, and tactical weapons education. The SWAT Team provides security for visiting dignitaries.
The Hostage Negotiations Team (HNT) is a part time unit made up of six Officers. The officers come from various divisions and sections of the department. They perform HNT activities in addition to the regular duties of their respective assignments. Each member is a volunteer and receives specialized training to be qualified as a negotiator. HNT members receive 40 hours of negotiation-specific training yearly as well as all other training required as a peace officer. HNT responds with SWAT when called for barricaded subjects as well as any situation which may involve hostages.
The Fire Medics train weekly with the SWAT Team and respond to all SWAT calls. The Medics are full-time firefighters and are paramedic trained. They are there to provide immediate lifesaving treatment for injured SWAT members or citizens.
The APD Bomb Squad serves a 21-county area surrounding Abilene. There are five members assigned to the squad: Lt. Gary Bone, Sgt. Mark Watson, Sgt. Lynn Beard, Sgt. Kevin Ohnheiser and Officer Chris Lazirko. All certified bomb technicians are first certified in a one week Hazardous Material Technician course followed by an intense 12 week Hazardous Devices School in Huntsville, Alabama. The Hazardous Devices School is taught jointly between the United States Army and the FBI. All members of the Bomb Squad also serve in other areas of the department full time. The Bomb Squad carries equipment with them on most calls to include an Andros F6A robot, two EOD-8 bomb suits, two search suits, an X-ray system, several disruptors, and numerous hand tools and power tools. The bomb squad is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Bomb Squad mission statement:
To intervene on the behalf of the public, APD officers, and outside agencies in the safe handling, disarming, and recovery (evidence) of explosive, suspicious or hoax devices.
The Bike Unit was formed in 1995 and currently consists of one Lieutenant and eighteen Officers. The Bike Unit works civic events, directive patrol and patrol the downtown area. You may see the Bike Unit working any one of the many civic events hosted in the Abilene area including parades, West Texas Fair and Rodeo, and monthly at the downtown "Art Walk." The Bike Unit may be deployed in a directive patrol any where an identified problem exist, such as an area of town experiencing a rash of burglaries or in the Mall area during the holiday season in an attempt to prevent motor-vehicle burglaries.
Patrolling via bikes has proven to be very successful and a valuable public relations tool. One of the great things about policing on bikes is that Officers can be highly visible when needed or extremely stealthy, too.
The Responsive Intelligence Division (RID) is a proactive enforcement division that focuses its resources on identifying crime trends and repeat offenders. RID was developed as part of the Department’s intelligence led policing initiative. RID is comprised of the Intelligence and Street Crimes Units (SCU).
The Intelligence Unit provides bulletins, updates, crime trends, and essential crime analysis information to the entire Department. Crime analysis helps RID respond to street level crime problems with the goal of decreasing or eliminating such activity. The team produces and shares intelligence information that is used to develop action plans to combat criminal activity.
SCU officers employ the latest technology and non-traditional policing methods to detect and suppress crime, focusing on the people and/or places causing the greatest stress on police resources. RID routinely assists the Geographical Commanders with problems in their areas of responsibility.
The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) includes several functions. The Forensics Unit operates under the CID umbrella. The more traditional investigation roles are divided into three units: Crime Against Persons, Crime Against Property, and Fraud. The 28 employees of CID include one Lieutenant, four Sergeants, nineteen Detectives, two Criminalist Officers, one Forensic Specialist, and a secretary.
The Persons Unit investigates offenses such as homicide, sexual assault, robbery, assault, harassment, etc. in which a person is injured, endangered, or threatened. Many of these crimes are fights and family violence that require a great deal of arbitration and interviewing to resolve. They also include physical and sexual abuse of children, and three of the unit's eight detectives are assigned to the Child Advocacy Center. They work exclusively on child abuse cases.
The Property Unit investigates crimes such as burglaries, car burglaries, theft, criminal mischief, etc.. The seven detectives in this unit constantly try to identify crime trends and intervene in addition to solving numerous individual offenses. One of the Property detectives is assigned to inspect Pawn Shops and maintain up-to-date files on pawned items. This program alone recovers $80,000 to $100,000 of stolen property each year. Even when criminal prosecution is not possible, the unit strives to help victims recover their loss.
The Fraud Unit investigates forgeries, credit card abuse, scams and other related offenses. The three Fraud detectives do not investigate hot checks. The District Attorney's Office handles all hot checks. Check forgeries and abuse of credit/debit cards involve lengthy paper trails for detectives to pursue. Fraud detectives are also active in education and information sharing among local businesses to help minimize loss to fraud.
The general working hours of CID are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, all detectives have the opportunity to change their schedules for reasonable needs of victims and witnesses. Also, all detectives respond to emergency calls relating to their assignment.
The Youth Division is comprised of seventeen personnel; four Investigators, eight School Resource Officers, two Sergeants, one Lieutenant, and two civilian Safety Specialists.
The mission of the division, in short, is to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome moral, mental, and physical development of children in it's jurisdiction. At the same time, the division's mission includes protecting the community from unlawful acts committed by children. The division is committed to these functions through effective investigation of juvenile crime, while stressing proactive programming that seeks to prevent juvenile crime and promote child safety.
The Youth Division's Investigative Unit is charged with the primary responsibility of investigating all offenses in the community committed by juveniles. The unit does not investigate crimes against children unless the suspect is also a juvenile. The Investigative Unit also investigates all cases of missing persons, regardless of age, reported to the department. We have a trained, critical missing persons team that is able to respond to any scene within 30 minutes. This team is also available to area agencies.
The Division's School Resource Officer Program began in the fall of 1990 with the assignment of a single officer to the campus of Abilene High School. The S.R.O. is responsible for handling any offenses or investigations which happen on the school campus; however, this function is considered secondary to the others listed. The initial S.R.O. proved to be so well accepted and effective that a second was soon assigned to Cooper High School. The program has expanded to include an S.R.O. at each middle school and also one for the Wylie Independent School District. The S.R.O. program has also implemented Campus Crimestoppers at each campus which has been highly successful at removing weapons and drugs from our schools.
The Safety City program was begun in 1981 through the efforts of the City of Abilene, Abilene Jaycee Foundation, Abilene Independent School District, and Dyess Air Force Base. Safety City is a child-sized town of buildings, streets, crosswalks, working traffic lights, and even a railroad crossing. It was created as a safe place where children can learn good traffic safety habits. Fire Safety was added in 2006 and Safety City now boasts of a new, state of the art, Fire Safety building and also finished in March of 2011 was a new police training classroom with stadium style seating.
The Special Operations Division of the Abilene Police is responsible for identifying illegal narcotics distribution sources affecting Abilene and to make a positive impact upon local illicit drug trafficking, as well as controlled and illegal drug abusers, to decrease the availability of controlled substances within the community. The Special Operations Division has a K-9 program to augment narcotic detection and enforcement efforts. In addition, the Special Operations Division is responsible for investigating vice related crimes such as gambling and prostitution. The Special Operations Division identifies career criminals, repeat offenders, patterns of organized violence, and employs proactive methods to reduce criminal activity.
The Special Operations Division is committed to the citizens of Abilene to help provide a safe community in which to live and work. We can accomplish this only by working together. If you have or suspect a drug problem or on-going vice activity in your neighborhood, you may contact us at 325-676-6650. All information is confidential. You don't have to feel like a victim. We need your help.
The mission of the Abilene/Taylor County Child Advocacy Center is to work together with our community to promote hope and healing for child abuse victims and provide support for non-offending caregivers. CAC services include forensic interviews of children, a multi-disciplinary team approach to investigations, family advocacy, referrals for professional counseling and other community services, and assistance with Crime Victim Compensation. The CAC provides a safe, family-friendly environment where children are given the opportunity to tell their story. A forensic interview is an interview where the goal is to obtain detailed facts from children. The interview is conducted by a trained unbiased interviewer who uses a strictly governed questioning format. The interview is recorded on a DVD and can be observed via closed circuit television by investigative professionals. The recorded interview stands as the child’s statement regarding the offense.
The CAC is an interagency, multidisciplinary program and the purpose of all Child Advocacy Centers across the country, is to facilitate cooperative joint investigations of child abuse cases essentially bringing all of the various multidisciplinary team members together simultaneously, so that the best possible investigation can be done with the least negative impact upon the child and the family. If you suspect child abuse or neglect you are required by law to report by calling the Statewide Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400. To learn more about the Child Advocacy Center and specifics about child abuse please visit www.OneWithCourage.org.
The Abilene Police Department Training Division is housed at the Warren Dodson Police Training Complex just North of Abilene. The mission of the Training Division is to recruit and select the best qualified candidates for the position of Police Officer, to provide meaningful and effective entry-level training, and to provide in-service training and weapons proficiency training to all police personnel. Staffing for the division includes a Lieutenant, who is the Director of Training for the department, two Training Officers, one Range master, and a civilian office manager.
The Training Division is made up of two components. The Abilene Police Academy is the home of the basic law enforcement academy that serves to supply the Abilene Police Department with its officers. Most departmental in-service training is also conducted at the academy facilities. The academy also serves as the coordinating point for the Abilene Police Department Citizen Police Academy.
The second component of the Training Division is the Police Firing Range. The range serves as the training location for all police firearms certification and re-certification, and is used for other specialized firearms and weapons training. The Police Firing Range has an asphalt, 20-lane firing range for handguns and a 10-lane rifle range with target stands at 50 and 100 yards with an auxiliary pistol pad.
Also located on the grounds of the training complex is the Abilene Police Department’s Obstacle Course. The course was designed and built by our Tactical Unit, and is used in continuing training for members of our department as well as officers from around the area. In our continuing effort to maintain the excellent relationship between the Abilene Police Department and Dyess Air Force Base, the O-course is used by specialized units from Dyess for training. The course is extremely difficult and physically challenging; it is about 1.3 miles long and currently has 32 different obstacles.
The Communications Division is an essential link between the public and emergency assistance. Emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance are received through 'Enhanced 9-1-1' (E 9-1-1), police and fire non-emergency phone lines. Hearing impaired callers are assisted through the TDD phone line.
The Communications Division is the lifeline of the Department. Communications operators are the link between the citizen in need and the responding personnel. Dispatchers relay key information to responding police units, provide pre-arrival medical assistance (via protocol charts), notify local ambulance service providers and fire departments. Dispatchers are also able to provide reassurance and understanding to the citizen in need when an emergency occurs. The Communications Division is also relied upon to assist in the safety of on-scene fire and police personnel.
In the Abilene Police Department, information is gathered by officers throughout the department in the course of crime prevention, intervention, and investigation. In order to make information accessible to others within the department, all information is funneled to one location where it can be processed, stored, and reviewed conveniently. This central hub for information is the Records Division. In all, the Records Division processes and maintains nearly 30,000 cases each year.
All requests for release of information must be in writing. Release of information is done in accordance with the Texas Public Information or the Freedom of Information Act.
Police Reports may be obtained at the Records window of the Police Department Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Two sworn officers and one civilian staff the Identification Division of the Abilene Police Department. Duties of this division include processing of physical evidence for latent prints, and identification of these prints by comparison with suspects, if suspects are known. Latent prints are also entered into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which compares latent prints lifted from crime seen evidence against the fingerprints of thousands of known offenders. Other duties require the examination of questioned documents, such as forgeries, etc., where they perform handwriting analysis to determine the author of a document.
The Identification Division provides fingerprinting services for the public upon request. They provide the service from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is a ten-dollar fee charged for this service.
The Abilene Police Department, like most law enforcement agencies, considers the care, custody and control of property and evidence to be a very high priority in policing. In order to control this process as effectively and efficiently as possible, A.P.D. funnels all property and evidence associated with a crime to one central location for processing and storing: the Property and Evidence Unit.
The division is staffed by three civilians and falls under the direction of the Records Division. These individuals are responsible for the care, custody, and control of approximately 230,000 pieces of property and evidence.