APD Steps Up Patrol on 6th Street - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD Steps Up Patrol on 6th Street


It's the part of Austin where red and blue police lights are as common as the lights from neon club signs.

Thousands visit 6th street, most have a good time but some have other ideas. Fights are a common thing. Austin Police Sgt. Ron McMillion talks to one of them.

"A lot of them are drunk, they act silly, you have to be tolerant of these particular individuals."

Party goers on 6th street may have noticed extra police presence at night. We first told you about the new evening shift that started July 18th. McMillion is the sergeant over the new evening shift. He's one of 10 new officers working downtown at night, helping veterans like Sgt. Brannon Ellsworth.

"We're so outnumbered down here we can't look for people to bust, we have to deal with the problems that are generated in front of us and we react to the problems."

Corporal Eric Cleveland said, "Get them separated, pull them apart, take them away from each other so that more fights don't start as a result of that one. You get in there, solve the problem and you get out."

But officers also deal with the criminal element. Sgt. McMillion said, "We're not going to let thugs and drug dealers interfere with our entertainment district."

Sgt McMillion says those are the reasons why he handpicked the new officers himself after reviewing their personnel and internal affairs files. He says not any officer can work downtown.

"Not a lot of officers are good with people, they're good officers but you need that special officer that's good with people, that's tolerant, patient, and able to deal with drunks and the situations we have on 6th street."

"Sometimes you're a tour guide, sometimes you're helping people park cars, sometimes you take them to jail, there's a lot of dynamics involved in our position," said Sgt. Ellsworth.

Before experiencing weekend nights on 6th street, the new officers worked weekday nights, letting them get to know the clubs and get used to small groups of people first.

"All the officers on the new shift have not worked down here before, maybe one or two days, so it's definitely a different experience," said Cpl Cleveland.

Besides walking and driving around, officers patrol on bikes, and on horses. But if problems can't be prevented, some may just end up in the back of patrol cars.

Follow Jenni on Twitter@jennileefox7.

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