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WEB - Rusty PancoastRussell R. “Rusty” Pancoast

Bee Cave Police Chief

Bee Cave Beat

Things are changing in Bee Cave.

That statement should come as no surprise to anyone who visits, or even just passes through our town. There is still a lot of construction going on in both our retail and residential areas. Additionally, there is a lot of growth to our west, which results in more shopping in and visitation to our little town. Some of the change accompanying this growth is good, but some is, regrettably, not so good.

Let’s talk first about some of those not-so-good things. As our population grows, and the number of visitors grows, so grows our crime. That growth in crime is generally in two areas.

The first area is that of property crime. These crimes include shoplifting, other theft, burglary of homes and businesses, burglary of motor vehicles, auto thefts, credit card fraud and money changing schemes.

Some examples of the more serious property crimes include a business burglary wherein several high power assault rifles were stolen; a residential burglary in which the victim literally lost everything, in that if it wasn’t stolen, it was totally destroyed; and credit card abuse cases in which the bad guys were hacking into retailers’ computers and stealing customer credit card information and then using that information to make and use fake credit cards.

The more serious violent crimes include an aggravated sexual assault that occurred in a business parking lot, an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that came out of a domestic dispute and made me realize that I really do not like butcher knives and an extortion attempt that included a threatened kidnapping.

Finally, we have had several homicides; yes, I said homicides, because suicides are classified at homicides, and sadly, we have had several suicides and several more attempted suicides during this past year.

Now, the good things. We have cultivated good relationships with a lot of other agencies over the years, and those relationships are proving to be of great value. On some of the cases, we have been working recently, we were able to receive valuable assistance from other agencies, including the FBI, ATF, DEA, Secret Service, Texas Rangers and many other local agencies.

Additionally, we have made some staffing changes in our Criminal Investigations Division, and there is a concerted effort under way to reduce the backlog of open cases. CID is also now operating under the policy that every lead is followed to its end, even if the lead does not initially appear to be very promising.

Finally, the Bee Cave Police Department has some new faces.

As I mentioned in earlier columns, we have had some significant turnover among the ranks of our patrol officers. As a result, we have five new officers with varying levels of experience, but all of whom are more fit and have some level of college education. Let me introduce them to you.

First, we have Officer Carl Neal who is a 2011 graduate of the University of Houston Police Academy.

Neal also attended college at Texas Southern University as well as Dallas Christian College. He also holds the distinction of holding the fastest time on the physical agility run that is required of all applicants. He completed the mile and a half run in 9 minutes, 56 seconds after stopping to tie his shoes.

Second, we have Officer Alice Hodgkins who came to us from the Austin Community College Campus Police Department.

Hodgkins is a 2010 graduate of the San Angelo Police Academy and also attended Folsom Lake College as well as the University of Phoenix. She has received specialized training in victims’ services which has already been very useful to the police department in several cases.

Third, we have Officer Mario Cmet who came to us after a 23-year career in law enforcement and whose last department was the Southlake Department of Public Safety.

Cmet originally attended the police academy in Georgia and later took the Texas licensing exam to become licensed in Texas as a peace officer. He also attended Tarrant County College. He holds a master peace officer license and is an advanced traffic accident investigator and police instructor.

Next is Officer Joshua McCann who is a 2010 graduate of the Cedar Valley Police Academy and a combat veteran serving six years in the U.S. Army.

McCann was deployed for 18 months with his unit to Iraq in support of direct military operations. He also attended college at Dallas County Community College and worked for Dallas Independent School District Police Department for almost two years before coming to “The Hive.”

Our final hire was Officer Greg Evans who is a 2011 graduate of the South Plains Police Academy and attended South Plains College.

Evans worked at the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department, Corrections Division, where he was assigned to their specialized unit DRT- Detention Response Team. Most recently, he worked at the Brady Police Department where he started a fitness program for the officers.

Until next time, Bee Safe.

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Comments

  1. Tommy Thompson says:

    There is a reason for the turnover at Bee Cave Police Department… Is it not odd, a department of 14 sworn officers lost a third of it’s force? How would the public react if a third of Austin PD’s force left the department?

    To the new hires of Bee Cave, Good Luck!! Watch your “6″. (That warning is not just to watch out for the crooks!)

  2. Rob says:

    There are five legally defined manners of death. Those being natural, accidental, homicide, suicide and undetermined (National Association of Medical Examiners). Unless these suicides you refer to are deaths involving active euthanasia or actively assisted suicide, they are not homicides. Homicide occurs when death results from a volitional act committed by another person to cause fear, harm, or death. So to say the city of Bee Cave has experienced homicides is misleading and untrue.

    As to the high turnover, I agree with the other commenter. This pattern of revoling personnel is alarming. In any other agency or company, mass exoduses of employees would set the wheels in motion for a thorough investigation/inquiry as to the reason why. Is this happening, I don’t know. What I do know is we as the community will never develop a meaningful relationship with a department that is changing faces on a frequent basis. It also doesn’t help when officers are consistently condescending and patronizing. If we commit a crime and/or infraction, fine, deal with us accordingly. But to behave in an arrogant manner when someone calls you for help is counterproductive and poor customer service. I speak from a position of experience, as I have many years in law enforcement and public service. Thank you.

  3. Jamie says:

    This is what happens when a department is left to supervise themselves.
    Unfortunately this department does not see the benefit to themselves and the public to have an Internal Affairs Bureau. Every branch of government has a system of checks and balances in place for its protection and the public as well.
    Too bad the BCpd thinks they have the right to tell the public how to behave properly with total disregard for their own behavior.
    Coming from an HR backround PD supervisors should interview officers as to why they are leaving the department and inform the mayor. A plan of action should be executed and implemented to keep officers happy, healthy and thus productive. This would help ensure a lower turnover rate for police in the city.

  4. Curious says:

    The title of this article is disturbing and the chief trashing former employees is arrogant.
    Think of this. If a third of the UT football team decided to go to Oklahoma, do you think the coach might have had something to do with it? Obviously, there is no confidence in the department. If everything is good why leave?
    At minimum an explanation for the massive exodus is owed to the police chief’s boss- the people of Bee Cave. Are we to assume that the massive exodus was because they wanted to walk through the desert? Unless the chief does not believe he is our employee and therefore no explanation is warranted.

  5. Blindfold off says:

    This department is useless. Its only purpose is selfseving. Calling suicide a homicide is RIDICULOUS! Only to be used for state funding I bet. People are not going to buy the bad apple theory. Chief should give explanation for officers quitting or be prepared to take the blame.

  6. Rob says:

    Clearly what we have here is a serious disconnect between the “brass” at BCPD and the community it serves. While I do not know any of these new officers yet, the fact remains, they’ll encounter serious challenges working in a community that already has strong, evidence based beliefs about its police force. Look, I am very much pro-police, however I am not blinded by the badge. People need to have trust, they need to know we can rely on BCPD. What they don’t need is to be summarily dismissed when we call and ask for help. This is a hard working community, who I’m sure would love to embrace BCPD, I know I would. But high turnover is indicative of a serious problem. And a community that does not have faith in its police force is not good either.

  7. Alain says:

    Now that you are more professional how about having Internal affairs unit like the rest of the modern world. Are we supposed to believe you are infallible?

  8. Rachel says:

    Instead of posting pictures the department should post complaint forms.
    At least pretend to care about public opinion and take residents seriously. It’s obvious you’d rather use the webspace for how to pay a summons.
    Bad news when other law enforcement tell you that your departments behavior and reputation is negative in public.

  9. Overlooked says:

    According to the data provided by the chief. The only consistent increase from 2006-2011 was the number of citations written. Curiously, no data was provided for accidents or auto fatalities to explain this increase.

  10. Rob says:

    Personally, I am not as much concerned about the amount of traffic citations written versus the amount of Police Officers leaving the department. Traffic enforcement is a vital law enforcement tool utilized to decrease traffic accidents and increase public safety. It would be interesting though to see if there is any corrleation between the increase in citations as it relates to accidents/fatalities, as this information can help the public understand the necessity for such aggressive enforcement.

    Some of the other citizens raise a legitimate concern regarding the existence of an Internal Affairs/Professional Standards Unit. If one exists, I am unaware of it. It would seem to me that it would be prudent to clearly define the organizational structure of the department, divisions, who’s responsible for what and who can we contact if we have a complaint/comment/question/praise. At the very minimum, update the city website with this information.

  11. Learnsome Manners says:

    The Bee caves police should cultivate good relationships with its residents.
    Even the worse departments have the common sense to know that you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  12. Rogatus says:

    Definition of Murder From the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Website:
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/violent-crime/murdermain

    “The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines murder and nonnegligent manslaughter as the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one human being by another. The classification of this offense is based solely on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or other judicial body. The UCR Program does not include the following situations in this offense classification: deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; justifiable homicides; and attempts to murder or assaults to murder, which are scored as aggravated assaults.”

    Most Police statistics are reported to the UCR.

    Any suicide IS investigated as a homicide UNTIL homicide is ruled out…but what the heck is the chief talking about?

    Bee Cave residents should be concerned that the leader of their police department can not tell the difference between the two.

    And why there IS there so much turnover? A bad hiring process or a bad working environment?

    So many questions…

  13. Bill smith says:

    If the system is broken it is ussually broken from the top down.

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