News Roundup: Austin Police Will No Longer Sell Used Duty Weapons

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 11, 2018 1:58 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas police agencies have been under scrutiny for selling off their old inventories of guns. Now one city has decided to change its policy. Alain Stephens, with the Texas Standard reports.

The City of Austin will no longer allow its police department to sell used weapons. The decision came in the wake of an investigation by the Texas Standard and Reveal finding that 21 of the 50 largest law enforcement agencies in the state sold over 10,000 duty weapons in the last decade. Austin city council member Alison Alter says the move is to prevent old departmental firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

“Its important and I appreciate my colleagues raising their voices with mine to say that we need to do everything in our power to stop gun violence,” she says.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives says it continues to see sold police guns ending up in crimes, but the agency will not disclose any details, due to current federal law.

 Stephens’ investigation “Blowback: How Police Put Guns on the Street and Congress Hides What Happen to Them” here.

More than 60 cities across the country have committed to supporting 100 percent of their energy needs with renewable sources, according to the Sierra Club.

One of those cities is Denton, the second city in Texas to do so.

To reach its goal of relying entirely on renewables by 2020, this week, the city approved a contract to build a new solar plant in West Texas. It will be named Bluebell Solar 2.

Cyrus Reed is the conservation director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. He says, this is the second time Denton has contracted with the company, NextEra, to build a solar plant.

“So, the first contract, which is being built as we speak, was also with NextEra and is also called Bluebell Solar – but Bluebell Solar 1 – and that was a smaller plant of 30 megawatts and that’s expected to be online later this year,” Reed says.

This new project is for 100 megawatts.

Reed explains Denton’s goal to use only renewables doesn’t mean that the energy they get at any given time comes just from that source.

What they’re doing is setting up contracts that cover all their energy needs. When Denton builds solar plants, the energy produced actually goes into the Texas electric grid as a whole.

“So as you add a 100 megawatts of solar, 100 megawatts of wind, those are just megawatt hours of electricity that are running, and that probably means there are some older, dirtier, fossil fuel plants that aren’t running. So, really what it does is help clean up our grid,” Reed says.

Reed adds that right now solar only provides 1 percent of the electricity in Texas. But by next year, it could be closer to 3 percent.

A woman who turned in a pair of baby bobcats to Animal Care Services in San Antonio this week could face possible criminal charges.

The woman, whose name hasn’t been released, originally claimed she found the kittens behind her house. It turns out they were actually found in a nearby county.

Now, the San Antonio Express-News reports, Texas Parks and Wildlife is helping with the investigation.